The new school year started last week and election season is heating up rapidly now only 60 days away from November 7, 2017.
In the first week of school we had the usual story of the last kid off the last bus at 7:30 pm. More notable was a bus losing a wheel in traffic, causing an accident and stranding kids. Articles said the garage failed to tighten the lug nuts, noting that 20% of the mechanic positions are currently open and unfilled. The same week, the health inspector found insects and mouse droppings in the cafeteria at West Charlotte high school, a failing grade. When I talk about running CMS like a business, I refer to its core functions like transporting students safely and serving food safely to students and staff. No one should have to work, and no student should have to learn, in unsanitary conditions. This is simply unacceptable. We deserve better.
The first week of school also presents questions about class-sizes. There seems a great deal of uncertainty on how such class sizes occur, and their importance to learning. Some flippant answers say “call Raleigh” but such hyper partisanship helps nothing, especially where class staffing and size decisions are typically made at the school level. Yes, there has been legislation, and that is why I am hosting a free state-wide webinar next week, 9/12/17, with Craig Horn, Chairman of the NC House Education Policy Committee. Please feel free to attend and ask questions about the General Assembly and education. Please also visit www.best-nc.org latest research on class sizes.
High School start times are too early. Research is clear and it appears we all agree. This start time we currently have was set based on transportation optimization several years ago in a budget crisis. It is beyond time that we revisit this right now.
Last Saturday the Committee to Elect Jeremy Stephenson walked around the Beverly Crest neighborhood and met phenomenally positive response. Elizabeth Lane Elementary, their assigned home school, is the highest performing school in all of CMS. See http://schools.cms.k12.nc.us/elizabethlaneES/Pages/SchoolImprovementPlan.aspx I told those parents we must study what makes their school uniquely strong, as there are other schools with higher incomes, higher PTA funding, etc., and work hard to replicate those tactics and results around the County. And most of all, do nothing that might lower those stellar performance marks. At the same time, everyone understood that ELE is significantly overcrowded, nearby Lansdowne under capacity and a new school being built there, and were at least open to discussing a “school pairing”, and actually were very surprised it did not happen earlier this year. Great to have Beverly Crest, Precinct 118, in my corner.
On Monday I marched in the Charlotte Labor Day Parade in support of myself and City Council At Large candidate John Powell. It is so cool to have folks on the side yell out “That’s John Powell, we’re voting for him!” If you have not yet, please check out http://votejohnpowell.org and support him on Election Day. He ran in 2015 and came up only 240 votes short.
Tuesday night was a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party, specifically to address what name or names should appear on the “Party Voter Guide” for the non-partisan District 5 CMS School Board race where there are two Republican candidates, me and Jim Peterson, but voters can only vote for one person. The Executive Committee voted to endorse me as the only candidate to appear on their Party Voter Guide. This is a HUGE development where turnout in off year municipal races trends heavily partisan, and many voters go solely off of the Party Voter Card. This could mean an additional several thousand votes at the polls on election day, and enables formal coordinated cooperation in campaign efforts, at the polls, walking neighborhoods, with the organized Republican Party and affiliated groups and clubs, like Charlotte Mecklenburg Republican Women, and Mecklenburg Evening Republican Women’s Club.
The Charlotte Observer is hosting a forum in SouthPark presenting Superintendent Clayton Wilcox, CMS Board Chair Mary McCray, and District 5 representative Eric Davis. Cost of $20 includes breakfast and benefits the Charlotte Observer. I may attend, but believe fiercely that constituents should not have to pay to hear their elected representatives speak. Eric Davis’ last Facebook post was in 2016.
In that regard, we continue the Friday Facebook Live events every Friday, noon to 12:15, with School News, policy positions, and answering questions.
We will have a reception with Brandy the Wonderful Mini Horse at Davie Park on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Is there anything more positive than a pony in the park?!
We will be walking neighborhoods between now and election day so STAY TUNED! In this super-low turnout election this is how we reach people directly.
September 21, 2017 there is a reception in Sedgefield neighborhood hosted by Rob and Brittany Watson. Please mark your calendars and feel free to attend. Spread the word.
Our Election Day Sign-Up Genius is up and running. Please take a shift or two and invite friends. http://www.signupgenius.com/go/805084fa8ac3-election