Bill would shift control of school buildings away from school system
By Andrew Doud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is fighting legislation that could mean a loss of control over school buildings.
Some commissioners in Mecklenburg County have expressed support for the bill, but school Superintendent Heath Morrison said it's a bad idea.
"There may be a need for that type of legislation in another part of the state. We don't believe that's needed here in (the) Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district and in our community," Morrison said.
He said where kids learn is one of the most important aspects of education.
But Senate Bill 236 would shift control of school construction and building operations away from the school system.
"It seems to create additional bureaucracy," Morrison said. "I think it creates opportunity for inefficiencies."
But County Commissioner Bill James said he supports the legislation.
In an email statement to Eyewitness News, James said, "The central question is whether the people that buy land and build buildings should retain title and control of them. I believe the answer to that is yes."
When bonds are issued, the county borrows the money and gives it to the school system, which owns and maintains the buildings.
Morrison said it's a system that works.
“In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, I'd really challenge someone who says there's something that has to be fixed. When you look at the 2007 bond, promises were made to the voters and promises were kept,” he said.
James said there is not accountability on the part of CMS and no requirement to use the buildings as efficiently as possible.
But some commissioners are against the legislation.
Commissioner Dumont Clarke said this is a solution in search of a problem. He said he is also asking that the topic be put on next Tuesday's meeting agenda.