CMS Board Squashes Forced Busing Talk

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Many parents don’t like the idea of forced busing. They chose their homes based on nearby schools. They don’t want their kids on the bus for long periods of time. They don’t want their kids used to elevate test scores in lower performing schools.

Supporters of busing say it’s essential to achieve the benefits of socio-economic and racial diversity.

No matter where you stand on forced busing, CMS leaders tell WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty not only is it not going to happen in the district again, it was never even discussed. Fogarty asked school board chair Mary McCray,”Will there be a return to forced busing in the district?” McCray said, “Never did we say that we are going to be massive, system wide busing going on.”

Fogarty asked again, saying, “So that’s a yes? Parents will have the option to send their child to their neighborhood school, should that be their choice?” McCray replied, “Why would we want to change that?”

Fogarty asked another time. She said, “So what I can definitively tell our viewers is that there is no commitment from any school board members or the school board as a whole to return the district to forced busing?” McCray said, “Definitely. Not if we are going to maintain the efficiency that we currently have.”

And once more. Fogarty said, “There is no commitment by the board, no decision by the board, any conversation about a return to forced busing is unfounded and inaccurate? Correct?” McCray and board member Tom Tate both replied, “Correct.”

School board member Rhonda Lennon says talk of forced busing started during this past school board election season, but: “That has never been discussed at policy committee, board or the general meeting. When you don’t write your own story, people put their own end to it and we didn’t do a good job with getting out with the communication to make sure parents feel comfortable.”

Important to note: this does not mean that if and when the district redraws some school boundary lines to keep up with the county’s growth, your “neighborhood,” “home” or “base school” won’t change. Lennon says, “I think that we have boundaries that don’t make sense, they’re not contiguous, we have some that look like octopus and we have some where the kids from the elementary school split into different schools and we need to stabilize the feeder patterns, look at whether we’ve had excessive growth in different areas, we need to make some tweaks to the actual boundaries of the schools themselves.”

Those specific tweaks are a ways away from being finalized. The board is still gathering data and research. And again: at Tuesday’s school board meeting, Lennon tells WCCB there will be a vote to formally support neighborhood schools and guarantee every student a seat in a school close to home.