New details on Myers Park/South Meck student reassignment proposal

Some parents ‘flabbergasted’ by plans disclosed in online meetings

This article appeared in the May 21, 2021, edition of The Charlotte Ledger, an email newsletter and digital publication with smart and original local news and insights. Sign up today. (Details here)

CMS proposal calls for relocation of World Languages from South Meck to Waddell; would shift part of Myers Park to South Meck

Nerves are fraying among some parents of students at Myers Park High School and South Mecklenburg High School, after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools floated a proposal at a series of meetings this week that would shuffle student school assignments in a portion of south Charlotte.

The possible changes are coming as CMS officials decide what kind of magnet program — or programs — to put at E.E. Waddell High School, which will open in 2022-23 as a full magnet school.

The plan that’s got south Charlotte parents worked up calls for moving a large World Languages magnet program of 850 students from South Mecklenburg to Waddell, and backfilling some of the seats at South Mecklenburg with Myers Park students to relieve overcrowding at Myers Park.

Those new students would come from neighborhoods now in the parts of the Olde Providence Elementary School and Sharon Elementary School zones that currently continue on to Carmel Middle School. Broadly speaking, that area is west of Providence Road between Fairview Road and Pineville-Matthews Road:

The two areas in orange — the southern portion of the Sharon Elementary attendance zone and the northern portion of the Olde Providence Elementary attendance zone, which each go to Carmel Middle — would shift from Myers Park High to South Meck High under a proposal unveiled Wednesday. (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)

South Mecklenburg is currently at 132% capacity with 9 mobile units; Myers Park is at 125% capacity with 19 mobile units.

If CMS goes with this plan, it’s undecided whether current Myers Park students would be allowed to finish out their high school careers at Myers Park, or if they’d have to switch schools starting in 2022-23. Typically, CMS exempts rising 11th and 12th graders from school assignment changes.

Myers Park concerns: Parents of students who would be affected railed against the plan on a Zoom with CMS officials Wednesday night.

  • “I’ve had two other kids go through Myers Park — that’s why we bought here,” said one mom.

  • “I can’t tell you how flabbergasted I am, and words that I won’t use. I’m just shocked,” said another.

Some parents said they were especially upset because they want their children to be in the International Baccalaureate program offered at Myers Park — a program that, if they get zoned out of Myers Park, they’d have to enter a lottery to participate in at East Charlotte High School, which has an IB magnet program.

Other parents said that they live closer to Providence High School than South Mecklenburg and wondered why the lines were drawn the way they were. (CMS officials responded that Providence is too overcrowded to take on more students.)

South Meck concerns: Separately, many South Meck parents are upset by the prospect of losing the school’s World Languages magnet. “They feel it’s being sacrificed for Myers Park’s overcrowding,” one South Meck parent told us. “There’s a lot of passion around the issue.” South Meck’s PTSA has set up a website laying out the case for keeping the language magnet, along with a list of school board members’ contact info.

Boundary changes are going to be a hot topic in south Charlotte for years to come, whether or not the board opts to move the World Languages program from South Mecklenburg to Waddell. In addition to reopening Waddell, CMS is planning to build a new high school off Johnston Road in the Ballantyne area. That’s scheduled to open in 2024 and will require shifting south Charlotte school boundaries and feeder patterns.

Parents and students who would be affected by the scenario unveiled this week are invited to voice their concerns at next Tuesday’s 6 p.m. school board meeting. The board should get ready for an earful.

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Executive editorTony MeciaManaging editorCristina BollingContributing editor: Tim Whitmire, CXN Advisory