The CMS Board of Education met at 6:04 pm on September 9th, 2014 in the chamber of the government center. All board members were present. The board approved the agenda by a vote of 9-0.
Eighteen public speakers spoke to the board. Three talked about the overcrowding at Huntingdown Farms Elementary. One gentleman spoke about a new anti-bullying program. Seven talked about re-opening Oakhurst Elementary as a STEM(Science Technology Engineering and Math) Partial Magnet. According to the speakers, this re-opening is needed in order to alieviate overcrowding at: Myers Park High, East Mecklenburg High, Harding High, Sedgefield Middle, Eastway Middle, McClintock Middle, Morningstar Elementary and Billingsville Elementary. Six talked about the need to change the policy on how parent volunteers are chosen to help in the schools. These community members and parents want a passport to be allowed as a way for parents to qualifiy to volunteer. One gentleman spoke about the board self-evaluation and on the new ¼ cent sales tax referendum that will be on the November ballot.
Ann Clark and Danielle Hunter gave the presentation on the Post-Opening of Schools. There are still 116 vacancies for teachers in CMS. There are 35.5 openings in the elementaries, 15 in middle schools and 20 in high schools.
District 1 Representative Rhonda Lennon ask Dr. Morrison what is hindering us(CMS) from finding people for these vacancies? Dr. Morrison stated that some parents decided to enroll the same children in new charter schools and in CMS. Dr. Morrison stated that DPI(Department of Public Instruction) will be able to update these numbers in the next few weeks. Morrison hopes that these not so firm numbers will be more firm so that CMS can make decisions on how many teachers are needed.
Lennon thanked Carol Stamper and her team in transportation for the great job they are doing with the diverging diamond in the rough in the northern part of 77. Lennon stated that she is happy that CMS has a larger ridership on the buses. Lennon stressed that everyone must stop when you see the buses.
Talla Brenthouse, Shauna Bell and Frank Barnes gave the Strategic Staffing Report. Frank Barnes highlighted the goals and the four year cohort graduation rates. Barnes is thrilled that the graduation rate is has increased again. 85.2% is the latest CMS graduation rate. This is above the national and the state average! Over the past four years the graduation rates have gone up at CMS.
District 6 Representative Paul Bailey ask about the KPI’s(Key Performance Indicators). He asked about absences and suspensions. Bailey asked if CMS has looked across the nation and state at other LEA’s(Local Education Agency) to see the comparible numbers. Bailey asked if this data is available. Barnes explained that CMS can look at the ACT test compared to the others in North Carolina. Barnes further stated that all graduating seniors must take the ACT(American College Testing). Barnes also explained that some CMS data does not transfer to data elsewhere.
Vice-Chairman Tim Morgan thanked Dr. Morrison for the increase in the graduation rate. Morgan had a conversation with another elected official in Charlotte this week. This particiular elected official stated that the current graduation rate numbers are bogus. Morgan stressed that the comments by this elected official are an insult to the hard work of CMS teachers, principals, staff and workforce.
Morgan has been on the CMS Board for five years now. Morgan thanked the hard working staff of CMS. He thanked the bus drivers, teachers, cafeteria workers and community and school volunteers. Morgan explained to the board that they still have alot of work to do about getting the message out about gains. He stated that these gains happpened when CMS had a serious lack of resources. Morgan thinks back to the Mallard Creek Initiative when the senior staff took ownership of the graduation rates. The graduation rates at Mallard Creek went up much more than their peers thanks to the hard work around this initiative. Morgan also is remembers when Project LIFT(Leadership and Investment For Transformation) was started. He wants the key lessons from Project LIFT expanded to other CMS schools. Morgan also talked about ‘restore the roar’ for all west side schools. He also talked about Ardrey Kell High and Providence High. He stated that these two schools have a healthy competition that is ongoing to increase the graduation rates. Morgan explained to District 1 Representative Lennon that this increase in graduation rates also will happen at Hough High.
Morgan remembers when EOC’s(End of Course), EOG’s(End of Grade) and ACT test scores started increasing ahead of the state average. Morgan explained that some have said that the graduation rate is a bogus number and he stressed that it is NOT a bogus number. Morgan said that the leadership of principals and teachers have increased the CMS graduation rate. Morgan is proud that CMS has seen great success in spite of deep budget cuts.
Dr. Morrison explained that public education is not broken. CMS has been impacted more than anyone in North Carolina with the recent deep budget cuts. CMS lost $950,000 and had deep funding cuts for teachers assistants for two years. Morrison wants to tell prominent leaders in Raleigh that teachers need to be paid more. CMS is still not funded better. Morrison is frustrated at the gap of funding from all funding partners. Morrison stressed that he does not like that the summer cohort numbers do not count in the four year cohort graduation rate.
Morgan also reminded all that Jonathan Sink just emailed board members the new legislative agenda. Morgan stated that the NCSBA(North Carolina School Board Assocation) Delegate Assembly is ongoing. He reminded all that board members need to weigh in on what they think about this new agenda. The IRC(Intergovernmental Relationships Committee) meets on the last Thursday of the month, September 25th at 9:00 am.
The next CMS Regular Board Meeting will be September 23rd, 2014 at 6:00 pm in room 267 of the government center. The government center is located at 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, North Carolina.