CMS Board Split On Superintendent Extension

CHARLOTTE, NC —  A battle breaking down along racial lines continues to play out for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board.
The board is working on a controversial plan for student reassignment; while also trying to find a superintendent to lead CMS through that process.

“How can we devise a plan if we are a racially divided board?,” asked CMS Board Chair Mary McCray.

The vote came out 6-3 Tuesday night to extend Superintendent Ann Clark’s contract another 11 months. And the battle over that time frame broke down along racial lines.

“It is time to turn the page, and boldly step into the future with new leadership,” said CMS Board member Thelma Byers-Bailey.

The five white board members all argued for another school year with Clark at the helm.

“I’m not sure that hiring somebody in the middle of a school year is going to be in the best interest of all of the children in our district,” said new CMS Board member Elyse Dashew.

The four black members wanted the search for a new superintendent sped up; saying a suitable candidate could be found by this summer, when Clark’s current contract expired. In the end, Thelma Byers-Bailey voted for Clark’s extension.

WCCB Charlotte sat down with the superintendent Wednesday afternoon. She says the board came to her last month, asking if she would be open to staying on longer.

“I’m not seeking to be the superintendent, the board asked me if I’d be willing to extend my contract, and I said yes,” says Clark.

Clark says her name will not be included in the search for a long-term superintendent. The board hopes to have a specific timeline for that search approved in two weeks.