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Cornelius News

CMS will vote to drop Cornelius from Municipal Concerns Act

Oct. 15. Dave Yochum. A majority on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education ​is ready to drop Cornelius from the controversial “Municipal Concerns Act” which cut North Meck out of school construction during the next 15 years.

The vote, which is expected to be unanimous, ​will be on the CMS board agenda Oct. 22. It would take effect immediately, said CMS Board Member Rhonda Cheek, a former Cornelius resident who recently moved to Davidson.​​ The official agenda will be released later this week.​​

​The Municipal Concerns Act represented a major break in relations between​ some elected leaders—​and citizens—​in North Meck and the school system​. The new CMS resolution would take effect immediately, ​Cheek​ said​.


Cheek ​credit​ed​ strong​ on-going​ relations with ​Cornelius ​Mayor Woody Washam and Town Board members Michael Miltich and Thurman Ross.

This will​ ​”​ch​an​ge the narrative​,” Cheek said.​

​The Town of Davidson did not opt into NC House Bill 514 which allowed Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews and Mint Hill to create their own charter schools.

NC Rep. Bill Brawley sponsored the bill, explaining that more school options were necessary due to overcrowding at CMS.

HB514 happened because a CMS bond referendum in 2017 largely left North Meck out of capital spending.

In recent weeks Mayor Washam has spoken out in favor of mending relationships with CMS, rather than organizing a campaign to separate from CMS in any number of ways that could take decades.

What could have happened was a Local ​E​ducation ​A​gency ​which would allow Huntersville and Cornelius to effectively break off from CMS. The mechanism, in the realm of possibility or not, would have been municipally chartered schools.

CMS officials like former NC Rep. Charles Jeter, said the cost would have been insurmountable, with considerable funding required up-front from local municipalities.


“I won’t say an LEA will never happen,” Washam said. “But if we can work out providing the best education possible for our students through CMS, then maybe we don’t need this.”

He said there are four great schools in Cornelius, a “perfect scenario with two elementary schools, Bailey Middle and Hough High.”

At the same time, there are only about 400 new homes on the planning books right now, with many of them senior housing.

That said, there are thousands of new homes planned in Huntersville and Davidson, which also contribute students to CMS schools located in Cornelius.

While Hough High is overcrowded, Hopewell is not, Washam explained, suggesting that reassignments—and working with CMS—will help with overcrowding.

Cornelius​ and Huntersville appointed​ ​”​educational options commission​” ​​to study how to sponsor or co​-​sponsoring charter school, or push for a new school district.

​The Cornelius group listed five options, including leaving things as they are, with an implied effort to mend relations with CMS.

Their findings were unveiled at the Cornelius Town Board meeting last month. Washam took pains to explain that working with CMS was the best solution, given the “heavy lift” around pulling out of a long-established school district.

CMS​, which ​has no plans for classrooms in North Mecklenburg in spite of a projected 10,000-student increase in enrollment​, is expected to work closely with town leaders in Cornelius and Davidson.

Newly appointed CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston and North District staff will meet with ​Cornelius officials Oct. 29.

Cheek said “things fell into place,” prompting her push to drop Cornelius from the Municipal Concerns Act.