CMS board weighs in on House Bill 514, actions of fellow board member

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - House Bill 514 came up in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Tuesday night school board meeting. Board members say they were disheartened Matthews Town Commissioners voted Monday night to continue to support the bill. If the general assembly approves it, the town of Matthews will be allowed to split from CMS and create their own charter school district for local students.

CMS opposes House Bill 514 and recently sent a release outlining their concerns and reasons. CMS board member Sean Strain, who represents the town of Matthews, disagreed with the majority of school board members and used Facebook to let people know his views.

Somebody wrote on Strain's Facebook that Strain should " Ms. Mary McCray a muzzle" for speaking out against House Bill 514. Mary McCray is the school board chairperson.  Strain replied "Methinks Ms. Mary has some splainin' to do."   At Tuesday night's meeting McCray responded to the Facebook post.

"Mary McCray as long as she has breath is not going to be muzzled," CMS School Board Chair Mary McCray said. "Because that's not how I operate."

McCray also said that actions of school board members should be above reproach. That comment was intended for Strain's actions on Facebook.  Board Member Rhonda Cheek also said at Tuesday night's board meeting members have to be respectful of each other. That was also directed to Strain. After the meeting WBTV approached Strain and asked if he had any comment.  He said "No" and walked away.

McCray says she did get an apology from Strain Tuesday night.

CMS school board members also said Tuesday if the bill went through, they would reconsider investing into schools in Matthews. Board Member Margaret Marshall says she didn't see the use if many Matthews students would be splitting from CMS. Board members also said taxes would go up to help support the charter school district.

Strain told board members he wasn't for or against House Bill 514. He also told board members if CMS continued to offer the quality education for schools in Matthews that Matthews town commissioners would not need to enact House Bill 514.

Board members say they will continue to aggressively defeat House Bill 514. Board members say they will soon have a town hall meeting with Matthews parents to get their input to figure out next steps.

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