Confidence in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is lagging

Published: Sep. 28, 2017 at 5:17 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2017 at 6:43 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District has work to do to build trust in the community. A new poll finds only about one in 10 have more confidence in the district than they did one year ago.

"We did not find overwhelming confidence in CMS," said Elon Poll Director Jason Husser.

The poll was done by Elon University and sponsored by WBTV and the Charlotte Observer. More than 600 people were questioned between September 18th and the 22nd. Overall, just 11 percent of registered voters in Mecklenburg County says they have more confidence in CMS than they did last year. 24% said they have less, while 47 percent say it's about the same.

DOCUMENT: Click here for more information from the poll

CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox responds to the poll as it relates to confidence in the school district.

"Those kinds of numbers say we got a lot of work to do," Wilcox said. "How 46-percent of any poll say we just don't know enough yet means that we haven't told our story. We haven't done the right thing by them to make sure they are engaged and interested in what the schools are doing. I think we have to create a more compelling case for people to pay attention."

The district has gone through some changes.  A new superintendent started in July and the school board recently approved a controversial student assignment plan.

"There have been a number of changes in the CMS system so we were interested in seeing how (the level of confidence) has changed over time," said Husser. "We don't see a lot of optimism across the county in terms of people thinking this is going to be a new year."

Despite the less than ringing endorsement of the district's performance voters do seem willing to go along with the latest bond proposal. Overall, 78% of Mecklenburg County voters say they support the bond, just 15% say the oppose it.

The $922 million dollar bond question will be on the November ballot. The bond money would be used to finance the construction, expansion and upgrade of school buildings. Husser cautioned however the results don't mean passage is a sure thing.

"It doesn't mean the bond is going to have overwhelming support at the ballot box," said Husser. "But it does mean the spirit is there at least among the community as a whole to support the school system."

Wilcox says it's too early to rely on polls. He says the district still has to do its job.

"I worry sometimes when people put too much faith in a poll that others would say I don't have to go vote," Wilcox said. "Because everybody else supports it, then a vocal minority can take over an election."

The poll found wide support for the bond among all demographic groups and political party affiliations.

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