Outreach to business and community
CMS attention and messaging tightly focuses first on current K-12 parents, second to teachers. Needs, including teacher salaries, and school construction, are vast, unlikely adequately met by the County, by Raleigh, or by Washington. CMS must better connect with the business community, and those in our community without current K-12 children, both to trumpet successes, and make aware of the pressing needs. Broadening the tent is a recurring theme.
Public confidence in functioning Board
The sudden departure of Heath Morrison left the community once again shaking its head about the CMS Board. The search for his permanent replacement, and further school assignment boundary changes, loom in the immediate future. It is critical that Board members understand the role of the Board, the General Counsel, and the Superintendent, under policies and applicable Statutes. Jeremy’s professional legal training and real experience in corporate governance, appropriate use of outside legal counsel, and confidentiality and conflicts of interest, are sorely needed on the CMS BoE.
Financial oversight to plan for the future
The CMS School Bond package in 2013 ($290 million) was almost three times smaller than the school bonds passed in Wake County the same year (over $800 million). People are moving to Mecklenburg County from across the country as they have been for twenty years because life is better here. Strict financial oversight is needed to ensure precious resources are not wasted, and to find savings wherever possible.
Workforce readiness/economic development
Business leaders are demanding a more skilled workforce. CMS is doing great things, like Olympic-Bosch Rexroth advanced manufacturing. This needs to be far more robust, and system wide. There are simply too few internships available. Also, such business-school connections are prime attractor of economic development of our region. If our schools are the best, and the community vocally behind them, it will continue to drive business growth, and more jobs in our community.
Candid conversation on generational poverty
Over fifty percent of CMS students are eligible for food assistance, over 70,000 students. On my side of the County, generational poverty is rarely seen or even discussed, and it is said that some “merely want to throw money at the problem.” Generational poverty in our schools is an issue for our entire community, and real change will need more than “throwing money”; it will take experts, mentors, volunteers, tutors, corporate leaders, faith groups, everyone, coming to the table for a candid conversation about what works and how it can be implemented.