New CMS draft map has significant changes compared to March version, particularly in the South Meck and Providence High feeder patterns; 28 schools face changes
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools unveiled its latest proposed south Charlotte student assignment maps Wednesday, and the new plan differs in some significant ways from the one the district presented last month.
Under this new draft plan, boundaries or feeder patterns would change at 28 south Charlotte CMS schools. (The previous draft plan had changes to 23 schools.) Big boundary changes are needed as CMS prepares to open a new high school near Ballantyne in the fall of 2024 and plans for a bond referendum that would pay for a new middle school in the Rea Farms area.
Decision time for the new boundaries is coming up quickly: CMS officials say they’ll listen to feedback from the public and will hold a public hearing on the final plan at the CMS school board meeting May 23; the board is expected to vote on a new boundary plan on June 6. (That’s a bit of a delay from what had previously been announced — the old plan was to have a public hearing May 9, with a vote on May 23.)
Here’s a list of the 28 schools affected under the latest plan:
A few of the highlights:
High school map:
HIGH SCHOOL LINES: New proposed high school boundary lines would extend South Meck’s boundary lines to the east and reduce the size of Providence High by reassigning a portion of McAlpine Elementary to the new high school, among other changes.
Middle school map:
MIDDLE SCHOOL LINES: The proposed middle school map would reshuffle assignment zones in south Charlotte. CMS plans to open a new middle school in the Rea Farms area if voters approve a proposed school bond this November.
➡️ Here are some changes of note in the new plan, which you can expect to see as topics of discussion in upcoming meetings:
Changes in socioeconomic diversity at South Mecklenburg High and the new high school. One of the big discussion points at community meetings last month was the fact that South Mecklenburg was slated to have 50% of its students come from low socioeconomic neighborhoods. (Currently, 47% of its students are from low socioeconomic neighborhoods.) The new plan changes the South Meck feeder pattern considerably, and would instead have 30% of South Meck’s student population come from low socioeconomic neighborhoods.
Olde Providence Elementary’s feeder pattern — and the involvement of Providence High: Under Draft 1 released last month, Olde Providence Elementary students would shift from Myers Park High to Providence High. Those students are now slated to go to South Mecklenburg High. Some Olde Providence parents say they’re unhappy with that change because their homes are located much closer to Providence High. Providence is largely unaffected by the new boundary maps; they’ll lose some students, as a portion of McAlpine Elementary students who currently go on to Providence High will now go to the new high school.
A change in boundaries for Carmel Middle and Alexander Graham Middle schools. One of the more vocal groups in recent months have been parents whose children attend Sharon Elementary School, whose student body splits when entering middle school, between Carmel and Alexander Graham. New boundary proposals have Alexander Graham Middle students staying at Myers Park High, while Carmel Middle students will switch to South Meck. CMS officials tweaked the dividing line between those middle schools in this draft iteration, so some students who previously attended Alexander Graham and would go on to Myers Park will now attend Carmel Middle and continue on to South Mecklenburg High.
The redrawing of school boundaries has been the talk of south Charlotte in recent months, as the changes that come will affect tens of thousands of families. In some cases, the process has divided neighbors and parents within school communities, who sometimes don’t agree on where the district’s priorities should lie, or even whether the district is following its own guidelines on how it should set school boundaries.
The district’s priorities when assigning students to schools are four-fold: balancing socioeconomic diversity, home-to-school distance, building utilization (how crowded a school is) and keeping feeder patterns intact.
Achieving all those priorities simultaneously is proving to be a challenge in an area like south Charlotte, CMS officials say, where there exist some concentrated pockets of wealth and poverty that make it hard to enable students to attend schools close to home while having them be socioeconomically diverse.
➡️ More meetings coming up: Here are three more chances this week to hear from district leaders and share your input:
Thurs., April 20, 12 p.m. on Zoom
Thurs., April 20, 6:30 p.m. at Providence High School cafeteria
Fri., April 21, 12 p.m. on Zoom