Wednesday, 04 October 2017 07:51

Talk of the Towns for Oct. 4, 2017

Written by  Staff

The bigger picture
Talkers know all parents want the best for their children, and there’s no shame in that. But equity doesn’t always mean absolute equality, and in the case of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bond package, it might be wise for some folks to take a step back and think about the whole county, not just their part of it. 

While growth is a big issue in north Mecklenburg as more and more people look to escape the city and settle into a more suburban life, more than a quarter-million people have settled in the county within the last decade. 

The whole county is larger, and with that comes infrastructure needs that must be met. Talkers hear discussions about preserving each Lake Norman town as the unique destinations they are, the complaints about increased traffic, and even the whining about long lines at the self-checkouts at Walmart. 

But those are not ailments exclusive to the Lake Norman area. Apartments in Charlotte are multiplying like rabbits, it seems like a new tower is erected at least once a month advertising studio living and fancy pool chairs. With those new living spaces come new children, who will attend schools that in many cases were built before their grandparents were in school.

Overcrowding at schools in some of the lower-income, higher minority populated areas of Charlotte is more than 140 percent. While there is discussion that the CMS rubric used to prioritize needs could be tweaked, the reality is that overcrowding exists all over the county and has to be evaluated by greatest need. 

That’s no small task for CMS, which has to deal with each and every parent and teacher at each of their 170 plus campuses, all wanting more for their child, or more for their school. Regardless of how the list shook out, someone was going to feel slighted. But Talkers also saw something else. 

The new CMS superintendent is listening. At a PTA meeting at J.M. Alexander, Clayton Wilcox said he’s impressed by how dedicated the people of Charlotte and Mecklenburg county are to their children and to their schools. He said that this is a special place because people want to advocate and support education, characteristics vital for the success of students and schools. 

Local representatives have passed resolutions detailing their problems with CMS’ approach and intend to keep fighting that fight to ensure that north Meck schools are counted fairly. 

So keep caring. Keep talking. And keep standing up for our kids. But just don’t forget people all across the county are standing up for their children, too, and they have needs as well, some of which, believe it or not, are more severe than ours. Every child has the right to a safe, healthy learning environment.  And that’s what CMS leadership is saying it wants.

Words do matter
Ill feelings and conspiracy theories tied to the Express Lanes on I-77 have caused a cacophonous conundrum in the community for quite a while. And the controversy wasn’t calmed by the casual and cavalier (or perhaps in some cases carefully calculated) tack some took to share conclusions from a review of the project’s contractual agreement.

The wrong use of the word “recommend” was included in articles and, worse yet, transplanted into some to deliver the wrong impression about not only the report’s findings, but its intended objective.

For the record, the for-information-only report identified options. It did not “recommend” anything. If you heard differently, you were lied to.

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