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Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Old Jan 28th 2020, 2:12 pm
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Default Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Hi all,

Am just wondering about how we should go about securing a school place for our 7 year for the next academic year (2020/21)?

I have made contact with CMS who have told me to just fill in the generic application form for all of their schools and one will be allocated based on where we live.

We are quite early on in our steps to move to the area, and the school we would like her to attend will heavily influence where we then look to find a rental. But we obviously need to have proof of residence before we can secure a school place anywhere! It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation, if you get what I mean?!
I’m concerned we will get a property based on the assigned school we like, apply for a place and then discover they have no spaces and she’s placed in a different school?

I hope I’m making some sense here?!
Anyone been in the same boat?!

TIA
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

This is absolutely standard policy for public school allocation.
You must get a house within the boundaries for the school you want. If you are concerned about not getting a place at that school then ask the registrar what the current situation is. But - I doubt it, they tend to redraw the boundaries if one school is getting overfull and that is something that has to be done well in advance. They are currently doing this in Austin and the process will take months.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

It’s highly unusual - at least in the multiple areas/ states I’ve lived - for a child who is in boundary to not get a place at the neighborhood school. The danger is more for kids who don’t live in boundary but started attending the school based on the open enrollment policies that some areas have. These are renewable each year, so if a the boundary area has a sudden influx of similarly-aged kids, parents may find that Little Johnny doesn’t have a place for the next year even though he’s been attending for some years already. Priority goes to kids in boundary, not to kids who’ve been there longest.

The easiest way to set your mind at rest is, as petitefrancais suggests, give the school a quick call and see if the year group your child would be going into is anywhere near full, and if so, what they’d do in that situation.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

It's a common problem, but "home first, school place follows" is how it works, including in CMS.

I am in NC, and we avoided Charlotte Mecklenburg for several reasons, including the schools. Per Petitefrancaise, I don't think redistricting is common in CMS, and we usually hear about it because all the parents get apoplectic about it!
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
It's a common problem, but "home first, school place follows" is how it works, including in CMS.

I am in NC, and we avoided Charlotte Mecklenburg for several reasons, including the schools. Per Petitefrancaise, I don't think redistricting is common in CMS, and we usually hear about it because all the parents get apoplectic about it!
can I ask why you have avoided the schools in this district?
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
It’s highly unusual - at least in the multiple areas/ states I’ve lived - for a child who is in boundary to not get a place at the neighborhood school. The danger is more for kids who don’t live in boundary but started attending the school based on the open enrollment policies that some areas have. These are renewable each year, so if a the boundary area has a sudden influx of similarly-aged kids, parents may find that Little Johnny doesn’t have a place for the next year even though he’s been attending for some years already. Priority goes to kids in boundary, not to kids who’ve been there longest.

The easiest way to set your mind at rest is, as petitefrancais suggests, give the school a quick call and see if the year group your child would be going into is anywhere near full, and if so, what they’d do in that situation.
yes that’s good advice from all! I contacted our preferred school and they said that although NC does cap class sizes from K-3, they have to provide a place for any children moving into their boundary and so I think we will be ok.

Thanks for the help
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by SuzieQ1983 View Post
can I ask why you have avoided the schools in this district?
The CMS school district is a political football, with many of the children failing to achieve, and in many cases dropping out before the age of 18, effectively meaning, in the US education system, they leave school without any qualifications at all. This has led to several changes of the "Superintendent of schools", who is responsible for running the system.

[A side snippet of information - in North Carolina, and I think generally across the US, teachers are employed by the school district, and while they are [i]generally hired into one school and remain teaching there, there is the possibility that teachers can be reassigned to a different school anywhere within the school district at the discretion of the Superintendent of Schools.]

So, back to the story, .... About ten years or so back, a new Superintendent got it into his head that he could take all the top-performing teachers from the best schools and move them to the poorest-performing schools, and that would improve everything, everyone would be happy, and he would be a superstar for fixing the problem of under-performing schools and underachieving students! So if you're a top-notch teacher who has been assigned to a rough school with a bunch of kids who are just biding their time until they drop out, and you have been placed there by the Superintendent, you have only two choices: stay the in a ¢rappy situation with students who don't give a ¢rap, or quit. .... What do you think happened? Within two years of the "grand reassignment" of high performing teachers, IIRC over 30% (it might have been more) of all teachers in the entire school district had resigned and left the county!

CMS schools are a crap shoot, and many parents have long since realized this and taken their children into neighboring counties (notably Iredell to the north, Cabarrus to the north east, and Union to the south east), or over the state line into SC. There is a somewhat derogatory name thrown about, that I guess came from the CMS schools district or the local council members, who realized what was happening and that the school district was in a bad way and getting worse thanks to political meddling - they dubbed it "white flight".

You can imagine what would have happened if anyone had tried to blame ¢rappy school performance on black kids and their parents who don't give a ¢rap about education. But it was apparently OK to try to blame the school district's problems on white middle class parents taking their children to live in neighboring counties. And how exactly taking a child out of the system was going to cause those who remained was anyone's guess, except that it was indicative of a lack of confidence in the schools, the teachers, and yes, the Superintendent, not to mention the School Board, who are a directly-elected bunch of political wannabees.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 28th 2020 at 8:00 pm.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Yeah, CMS aren't going to give a hoot until you become their problem by having residency in their jurisdiction. At that stage they're required to provide schooling (even to those not in a legal immigration status).

Pulaski is spot on from my observation of CMS and from talking to fellow residents.

It is worth mentioning that Charlotte has a number of great private schools. However, they aren't cheap in this area. You're probably in the $15k-$25k per year range.

I've had a lot of good feedback on Fort Mill school districts. However, that's the opposite side of the map to where your other post mentions.

Cabarrus county isn't bad, but I did do a presentation to high school kids there at a career day and had people literally dozing off. Perhaps my presentation was a little boring, but it just shows the lack of manners and give a crap some of the kids in the system have.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
Yeah, CMS aren't going to give a hoot until you become their problem by having residency in their jurisdiction. At that stage they're required to provide schooling (even to those not in a legal immigration status).

.
No child going into a public school has to provide immigration status. THAT is the law.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
.... Within two years of the "grand reassignment" of high performing teachers, IIRC over 30% (it might have been more) of all teachers in the entire school district had resigned and left the county! ....
I went looking for supporting figures and found this:
".... For the last five years, [2009-2014] the number of teachers leaving the district has nearly doubled, from 449 in 2009-10 to 858 as of April 2014, out of 8,309 in CMS altogether. According to figures provided by the district, ..... a whopping 65 percent left or were driven from the district. "
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 10:46 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
No child going into a public school has to provide immigration status. THAT is the law.
You realize that Tom and you are saying the same thing? .... Education is mandatory for all children living in the US, without exception. Full stop. End of story. Therefore a child's citizenship, visa, status, and whether they have an SSN, are all wholly irrelevant to them being enrolled at a public (state funded) school.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 28th 2020 at 10:48 pm.
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 1:01 am
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Am I wrong in inferring that large numbers of middle class and upper middle class Charlotte/Mecklenburg County residents send their kids to public schools, and are quite content with them? I don't think it's at all like some cities where professional/middle class people avoid the local public schools at all costs.
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 1:11 am
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by HDWill View Post
Am I wrong in inferring that large numbers of middle class and upper middle class Charlotte/Mecklenburg County residents send their kids to public schools, and are quite content with them? I don't think it's at all like some cities where professional/middle class people avoid the local public schools at all costs.
See my above comment about "white flight", and Tom's comment about private schools, of which there are about 60 (sixty) in the Charlotte area; I would suggest that there is a good reason for this. To which I would add the increasing number and popularity of charter (quazi-independent but publicly funded) schools.

There are pockets of good schools, notably in south Charlotte (known as "the wedge" to Charlotte residents), but housing there is much more expensive than other parts of Charlotte, with a large number of houses in the $500k-$1million range and many mansions worth over $1million. Far SW Charlotte also has, from what I hear, some reasonable schools, but no CMS school is immune to the political meddling and the risk of having their high-performing teaches reasigned.

I guess the real question is whether you're a parent who is interested in getting the best education for their child(ren) seeking out the best opportunities for your child(ren) to succeed, even if that only means a relatively stable, drama-free classroom experience, or if you will take whatever "educational experience" the local education board provides, wherever you happen to live?

Short version: The situation may be worse in some cities, but Charlotte certainly has some crappy schools.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 29th 2020 at 1:18 am.
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 12:29 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

CMS has also had significant leadership instability at the top, something like 6 superintendents in 10 years. That isn't because they were all so awesome that they kept getting poached by bigger systems with more money.

CMS also has weak tenure protections for teachers. Which becomes a much bigger issue, if you tell them they are now being forcibly transferred to a crap school, where they now have full ownership of a problem someone else made, with limited autonomy to actually change anything, while working under inexperienced admin whose learning curve the teacher will have to wear.


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Old Jan 29th 2020, 12:31 pm
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Default Re: Charlotte- Mecklenburg: Securing a school place

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
CMS has also had significant leadership instability at the top, something like 6 superintendents in 10 years. That isn't because they were all so awesome that they kept getting poached by bigger systems with more money.

CMS also has weak tenure protections for teachers. Which becomes a much bigger issue, if you tell them they are now being forcibly transferred to a crap school, where they now have full ownership of a problem someone else made, with limited autonomy to actually change anything, while working under inexperienced admin whose learning curve the teacher will have to wear.
i am a primary School teacher here in the U.K. and so can fully sympathise with any teacher is forced to move to a more challenging school. Very strange system - just wouldn’t happen here
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