Town leaders ask CMS to pause relocating magnet program

CHARLOTTE — Leaders in Huntersville are asking the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education to pause a proposed move of a magnet program to another school.

Parents at Trillium Springs Montessori in Huntersville are against a proposal to relocate the school eight miles south to Lincoln Heights Academy in northwest Charlotte.

“We’re a fairly small school and pretty tight group, and the Montessori-style of education brings the community together, said parent Scott Butler.

Channel 9 reported last week that parents said they learned of the proposal only two weeks before Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools staff presented it to the school board.

Parent Helene Gourdet said she was shocked.

“Very disappointing and shocking that something was going on behind the scenes that we weren’t aware of,” Gourdet said.

“Everybody really kind of rallied together because they don’t want the students torn apart because they can’t make it down to Lincoln Heights,” Butler said.

The outcry from Trillium Springs families is getting the attention of Huntersville’s mayor pro tem and three commissioners.

They sent a letter to CMS Board of Education members Friday “to express overwhelming concern about Trillium’s possible closure.”

The letter states the closure would “cause an undue burden on those living in Huntersville and either working at or attending Trillium Springs.”

“I’m glad that there’s more support and that the value is noticeable,” Gourdet said.

Huntersville leaders added in the letter that, “it’s been implied that commissioners would not be in support of rebuilding Trillium or that they don’t want to work with CMS.”

They called that “fundamentally flawed” and are asking CMS to pause so that the two entities can work together to find a more suitable solution.

“Or another situation that it might be better or closer to this area at least, so that we’re not going another 30 minutes into Charlotte against traffic,” Butler said.

“I’m hoping that an alternative is proposed,” Gourdet said.

The CMS Board of Education is expected to vote Wednesday on the next step for the program.

Trillium Springs Montessori isn’t the only school impacted.

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CMS is also looking at reopening E.E. Waddell as a kind of magnet high school.

It would house a career and technical education academy and the district’s virtual academy serving grades 5-12, but it would initially only be open for ninth and 10th grades and wouldn’t have its own athletics program.

VIDEO: Parents, CMS board concerned about proposed changes to magnet schools program

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.