Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None — The NAACP is not backing down after their president, Kojo Nantambu, was arrested during a heated community forum on Tuesday night.
The organization has come out swinging at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendant Peter Gorman, the school board and CMS Chairman Eric Davis and held a news conference on the matter Thursday.
CMS plans to save money by closing or consolidating schools. Many of those schools are on the west side of Charlotte which is causing controversy.
"What this board plans to do is absolutely deplorable, divisive and racists," Nantambu said.
Davis said the accusations won't change his focus, but admitted the criticism stings. "Come on. I'm human, like anybody else, so I hear those types of statements," he said.
NAACP member, Levester Flowers threatened to target the city's pursuit of the Democratic National Convention bid for 2012.
"If CMS doesn't get this correct we will tell the Democratic National Convention to take their $200 million dollars somewhere else," Flowers said.
UNC Charlotte political science professor, Eric Heberlig, questioned whether local Democrats, including Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx, would stand for anyone trying to scuttle the city's convention chances, but he said an ugly spat over schools could do damage.
"It's certainly a big deterrent to the national Democratic party choosing to come here," Heberlig said.
This is a big reason Eric Davis is trying to diffuse an increasingly tense debate. "This is not an issue of race. This is an issue of trying to accelerate academic achievement and at the same time deal with the financial realities that we face," Davis said.
Channel 9 attempted to contact both the mayor and the NAACP Friday but were not able to reach either one. But Channel 9 has learned that CMS is now trying to contact the 19 people who weren't allowed to speak at a forum this week.
A special meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Government Center in uptown Charlotte at 4:30 p.m., where they'll all be given an opportunity to speak.
That meeting will be the last time the public can weigh in on the plans before the school board votes in early November.