CMS gives town of Matthews a hard deadline

CMS gives town of Matthews a hard deadline
(Dedrick Russell/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) Board is giving the town of Matthews a hard deadline to decide its position of House Bill 514.

CMS wants leaders to withdraw their support. If approved that House Bill 514 would allow Matthews to create its own Charter School District.

The school system's leaders fear if that happens, other towns would do the same and that would create more challenges for struggling schools.

CMS leaders want to know Matthews leaders intentions by 5 p.m. Thursday.

Board Chair Mary McCray says they have met with town commissioners to discuss concerns in Matthews and believe now is the time to move on.

CMS leaders say if Matthews town leaders don't withdraw their support of the bill, they will do all they can to defeat the it in Raleigh.

"I intend to touch base with everybody tomorrow and talk through and see where they stand," Matthews Mayor Paul Bailey said. "Then I will be communicating to Ms. McCray where I believe the vote will go and that's all I can tell her."

The mayor says he doesn't know how he will vote. He says he is still looking over the compromises CMS leaders presented them at a Tuesday night meeting.

CMS says if Matthews withdraws support, then a task force will be established comprised of CMS leaders and Matthews town leaders.

The task force will come up with recommendations to better the education for students attending a CMS school in Matthews.

Challenges range from overcrowded schools to the thought of students in Matthews being reassigned to schools outside the town.

The other compromise would be CMS and Matthews leaders lobbying politicians together to get schools built quicker in the area.

Town Commissioner Kress Query said Tuesday he will not withdraw his support and believes it's too late to change the course of action.

"We do have the option not to go forward with it now," Town Commissioner Kress Query said. "But I think that would be wrong in our place to do that for our citizens and constituents. It takes probably three to five years to get a law like this passed."

Parents in other towns could wonder is CMS giving special treatment to the town of Matthews and leaving other towns behind.

The mayor said this type of discussion is a learning lesson for CMS and other town politicians.

"It begs the question why are we not doing these discussions on an ongoing basis," Bailey said. "We do need to get the two bodies together to understand what is going on and where CMS is headed with its schools."

CMS said another reason for the hard deadline is that the General Assembly reconvenes in May and CMS says it needs to know as soon as possible how to proceed.

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