by Jeff Taylor
Well. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners rejected the $572 million school-building plan backed by the Martin Commission. Guess it is just not the school board that is dysfunctional, eh?
The truth is that school-building in Mecklenburg has become almost a totally political endeavor as CMS has struggled to provide any kind of objective, education-driven framework for school construction and renovation. The Ed Center has not been able to prioritize and execute on projects for years — just ask around. As a result the hard decisions were bounced up to the school board, then handed off to the Martin Commission (which was wholly stage-managed by CMS staff to get the largest possible package), and then to the county commission.
Only then was there an attempt to reel-in the $22 million overreach in renovation funding the Martin Commission proposed. But Parks Helms was hemmed in to support whatever the Commission had crafted, so that was that.
Local residents are not shocked. They know that until CMS is fixed the political, and social and business, establishment will wrestle with trying to patch up its short-comings.
The good news is that new leadership may yet fix CMS and new tools — such as lease-purchase financing of schools — may help. The bad news is that Charlotte and Mecklenburg County remain in a state of denial about the just how broken and toxic the Ed Center remains.