CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) board members had a meeting with leaders from Charlotte, Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, Pineville, Davidson, and Huntersville Wednesday.
CMS leaders say the purpose of the meeting was to get everybody on the same page and to concentrate on making decisions that are best for students.
The meeting comes at a time when there has been tension between CMS and several town leaders. CMS school board decided not to build new schools in Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville, Cornelius unless the district's demands are met. Board members say since those towns have signed on to controversial bill House Bill 514, then it would be too risky to build new schools.
HB 514 allows those four towns to build its own charter schools. The towns of Huntersville and Cornelius fired back and decided to set up a committee to see the feasibility to build a charter school in their towns and possibly take students away from CMS. Was this retaliation?
"We had already told everybody when we asked to be a part of the bill that we would set up a commission to go out and look what are the best options for Huntersville," Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla said.
CMS board members told town leaders their expectations and explained why they made some controversial decisions. CMS hopes the meeting can be a starting point to get everybody on the same page especially when it comes to building new schools.
"Sharing in the problem solving and having a shared vision for what is good for our shared constituents," CMS School Board At-Large Member Elyse Dashew said.
Soon CMS will set up a committee consisting of town leaders and board members to discuss issues and come up with solutions. Many hope CMS and town representatives can lay aside their differences.
"That is what the challenge is going to be," First Baptist Church West Pastor Dr. Ricky Woods said. "We are in a highly politicized environment. Can we make the split of the partisan politics and decide what we want to do is decide what works best for kids."
CMS leaders hope the politicians walked away from the meeting more educated about the issues at hand, while CMS leaders say they have learned a lesson. They believe there can never be enough communication between CMS and towns. Politicians want more say when it comes to building new schools in their area.
"I'll have my team provide the information that they need to make decision together," CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said. "Also do a better job of having my team communicate directly with town planners on a staff to staff level."
There is no word when the committee will have its first meeting.