CMS statement and information on HB514

CMS remains opposed to HB514 because it is not what is best for our kids, students and families across Mecklenburg County. HB514 offers no clear path for higher academic achievement, could disrupt public education, drive taxes higher, and lead to more segregation and fewer educational choices for families not just in Mecklenburg County, but across North Carolina.

CMS wishes to provide continued stability and clarity for families as they make decisions about education. CMS believes that the district's cooperative proposal to the Matthews Town Commission for a joint task force to find solutions on school overcrowding, inadequate teacher pay, school safety and outdated facilities is still the best path forward for families and students. The district also wants to work with Huntersville, where a town hall meeting was held May 15.

CMS remains open to good faith discussions both locally and in Raleigh, but will continue to oppose HB514. CMS believes that families should be made aware of the possible impacts of HB514 so that they can make the best education decisions with their students. See the full text of HB514 at this link.

HB514 Impact 1: Students may have to leave high-performing schools where they already have guaranteed seats and are achieving today. WHY?

  • Years of planning around needed seats, student capacity and size of buildings go into school location, design, capacity and construction decisions.
  • CMS has a responsibility to taxpayers and families to ensure that all school buildings and facilities are operated to highest and best use.
  • If HB514 is passed, CMS will be faced with the possibility that any number of Matthews and Mint Hill students could choose town-sponsored schools, vacating seats in CMS schools, forcing CMS to fill those seats through reassignment and dealing with the other consequences of HB514, including potential impacts to staffing and programs.

HB514 Impact 2: Parents might pay more taxes with no guarantee their children would have a seat in the very schools they are paying for with their hard-earned money. WHY?

  • Under HB514, town-sponsored school seats are assigned by lottery โ€“ they are not guaranteed to families.
  • CMS guarantees all students seats in schools in close proximity to their homes.
  • All school-age children in Matthews and Mint Hill who so desire, already go to school within town boundaries or very close nearby.
  • HB514 gives Matthews and Mint Hill the ability to spend tax money on building and operating schools, a power that they do not have currently.
  • It costs money to build and operate a school, so, if HB 514 passes, and schools are built by Matthews or Mint Hill, local property taxes will be used to build them, which will either result in a tax increase for Matthews and Mint Hill residents or a cut in services offered to Matthews and Mint Hill residents.
  • If schools are built under HB514, all of the towns' taxpaying families will pay, but only a relative few who are chosen in the lottery would have seats in those schools. 

HB514 Impact 3: Children and students may not benefit from career preparation and certification programs, language academies, arts and music programs, exceptional needs supports, mental and emotional health access, athletic opportunities, transportation, and other offerings in CMS. WHY?

  • CMS is able to offer a wide range of curriculum offerings, classes, special programs, family resources, student supports, meal and nutrition services, transportation, athletic programs, music and arts, safety and security protections for students.
  • Families and students are able to benefit from these programs and offerings because their tax dollars have paid for them, because CMS is able to fund some programs with significant grant dollars, and because CMS can support specialized programs some families need which would be prohibitively expensive for one school.
  • HB514 does not require Matthews or Mint Hill to offer these programs or supports.
  • Many of the CMS schools serving students in Matthews and Mint Hill are recognized as among the best schools not only in Mecklenburg County, but also in North Carolina and, in some cases, the United States.

HB514 Impact 4: Families with students in CMS magnet schools may lose seats. WHY?

  • CMS offers magnet school options to families and students through an annual lottery.
  • Students must first be enrolled in CMS to participate in the magnet school lottery.
  • A student enrolled in a school outside CMS cannot be seated in a CMS magnet school.
  • CMS recognizes that, as a practical matter, is possible for someone to "double enroll", that is, enroll students in both a CMS school and charter, private or parochial school. However, this practice is unfair because this may mean that some students who wish only to go to a desirable magnet school may not able to attend because seats are taken by students who have no intention of attending. 

HB514 will open the door to a more segregated community and close the door on access to opportunities for those who need it most in Mecklenburg County. WHY?

  • CMS core values include emphasis on diversity and inclusion not just as a matter of moral consideration, but as a driver of academic achievement and future economic mobility.
  • The recent school assignment process reflects the input of community members from across the county and is the result of careful planning to ensure that: a) students have a guaranteed seat in a school close to their home; b) magnet options are available to families and students; c) the community is responsive to recent trends showing that the community at large, including our schools, is becoming more segregated.
  • The demographics of some of our neighborhoods and towns in Mecklenburg County reflect larger trends of re-segregation โ€“ schools drawing students only from these areas would be inherently segregated, too.
  • CMS believes that all students benefit academically, socially, mentally and as developing young minds from school settings that reflect the world around them โ€“ an increasingly diverse, more connected and complex world for which we are obligated to equip them to succeed.

What DO we know about HB514?

See the text of HB514 here at this link.

There are many more questions than answers about HB514. As proposed, HB514 would authorize the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill to establish and operate their own schools.

HB514 would allow Matthews and Mint Hill to establish a preference for their own residents over those citizens who live outside their town limits, including every child in Mecklenburg County who does not live in Matthews and Mint Hill. In addition to being paid for by their town residents, schools set up by Matthews and Mint Hill would be paid for by all the other citizens of Mecklenburg County, most of whose children will not be able to attend these schools.

Informational documents
The following documents are from the Huntersville town hall meeting May 15.