Town of Matthews unanimously disavows municipal charter schools

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photo credit Elyse Dashew

In a unanimous vote on Monday night, the Matthews town council passed a resolution which should put an end to talk about the Charlotte suburb setting up its own system of charter schools.

The resolution acknowledges that the issue has strained relationships with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and states in part:

BE IT NOW FURTHER RESOLVED, the Town of Matthews has no intention of pursuing the development of a municipal charter school system any time in the foreseeable future, as we believe it is neither necessary nor financially feasible to do so.

Former Mecklenburg County Representative Bill Brawley sponsored municipal charter bill HB 514 in 2018, when Republicans still held a veto-proof supermajority in the state legislature. The law gave Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, and Huntersville the authority to set up and operate their own charter schools.

Critics held such a move would deepen racial and economic segregation in Mecklenburg County, as the four towns are overwhelmingly white and would draw white students away from CMS schools while excluding students of color from neighboring communities.

Town residents were also concerned that their property taxes would rise significantly to fund the new schools, and that they’d find themselves paying taxes toward two school systems at the same time.

Brawley lost his seat to Rachel Hunt in 2018. The other big municipal charter cheerleader, Matthews Mayor Paul Bailey, lost to John Higdon in November 2019. One of Higdon’s big campaign issues was the need for improving the relationship between Matthews and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

You can see the resolution below:

Matthews-resolution-Feb-2020

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