Two suburbs of Charlotte, N.C., will look at establishing their own schools

Sept. 18, 2018
The towns of Huntersville and Cornelius are studying the feasibility of opening schools separate from the Charlotte-Meckelnburg County district.

Two towns in the suburbs of Charlotte, N.C., have voted to explore their options for building and running their own public schools.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the town boards in Huntersville and Cornelius voted to create education study commissions that will evaluate creating town charter schools, a move authorized by the North Carolina’s General Assembly's approval of legislation earlier this year.

The nearly identical resolutions also call for town “educational options study commissions” to look at working with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County district as one option, and at splitting the countywide district as another.

The votes come amid questions about the future of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district.

In July the General Assembly voted to authorize four Mecklenburg towns — Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville and Cornelius — to create town charter schools funded with local taxes. The legislature also gave all towns authority to spend local money on public education, which has traditionally been a state and county responsibility.

In August, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved a “Municipal Concerns Act of 2018,” which calls for cutting those four towns out of future school construction funding unless they pass a binding resolution not to pursue town charter schools.

Critics note that all towns included in the legislation are richer and whiter than county district as a whole, and say anything that carves out schools just for those residents increases racial and economic segregation.

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