May 10, 2006
PUBLIC COMMENT: MECKLENBURG RESIDENTS CAN VOICE THEIR OPINIONS ON SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PRINCIPLES
Charlotte, NC – The citizen committee charged with developing a school construction package is seeking public input on a set of guiding principles to be used when developing recommendations. The School Building Solutions Committee, chaired by former Governor Jim Martin, will host three public forums to receive public input on the guiding principles:
• Monday, May 15, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell Street East (behind Matthews Elementary School)
• Tuesday, May 16, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Avenue
• Wednesday, May 17, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Beatties Ford Road Library, 2412 Beatties Ford Road
Citizens wishing to address Committee members during these public meetings should RSVP to the Lee Institute by calling 704-714-4438 or emailing
In addition to the three scheduled public forums, there are two other options for people to provide input on these guidelines, as follows:
• Online at
www.charmeck.org or by emailing directly at
• Appearing at the May 19 or May 25 meeting of the Committee. The Committee as reserved time at the beginning of these meeting for public input.
The 35-member School Building Solutions Committee is working to craft a school capital package the community can support. The Committee is currently considering short-term recommendations in three areas: the building of new schools, the expansion of current schools, and the renovation of current schools.
In considering capital needs for the schools, the Committee has drafted a set of potential "guiding principles," that will be used in forming the final recommendations. Below are the draft guiding principles:
1. Our first set of recommendations must focus on the critical short-term facility needs of CMS; short-term would be defined as one-year.
2. There is a clear and immediate need for construction of new schools to relieve the overload on facilities, and to provide schools of more manageable size, throughout the entire county.
3. There is a clear and immediate need for renovation of older schools that are still needed for continued service throughout the entire county.
4. Construction and renovation must happen quickly.
5. The purchase of land while it is still relatively available at a lower price is a long-term need that requires short-term action.
6. Priorities for all decisions on construction and renovation should include the health and safety of children, an effective learning environment, and efficient management of resources.
7. General Obligation Bonds and COPs are funding options for renovations and new construction.
8. Public approval of school bond referenda is the most desirable long-term approach for capital funding of school construction and renovation.
9. The Board of Education must address key concerns by the public if future bond referenda are to be successful.
10. Funds are needed for both construction and renovation and in roughly the same 2:1 proportions as in the 2005 referendum.
11. We may recommend projects that our review has shown to be among the most critical needs.
12. If our short-term recommendations are accepted, we would be willing to undertake further studies of longer term solutions, including building standards and materials, shared facilities for major athletic events and practice facilities, more Charter Schools, consolidation of schools with low enrollment, year-round schedules, alternative sources of revenue, and the like.
These guiding principles will be fine-tuned at the next meeting of the School Building Solutions Committee on Thursday, May 11 at noon. That meeting will be held in room 267 of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte. The schedule calls for the Committee to adopt the final guiding principles at its May 25 meeting.
The School Building Solutions Committee was formed by the Board of County Commissioners in response to voters rejecting the school bond referendum last November. The Committee is charged with building a school capital package that will be supported by the community. Committee members were appointed by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the County's seven mayors, and Martin. The Committee is scheduled to provide its recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in July 2006.