Friday, January 27, 2012

Churches renting schools: CMS says amen

The U.S. Supreme Court recently sided with New York City officials who say letting churches worship in school buildings violates the separation of church and state.  But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools doesn't plan to change its practice of letting churches rent space after hours,  officials said this week.

The subject came up during an update on the district's  "community use of schools"  program at Tuesday's school board meeting.  CMS leaders acknowledged the ruling,  but said they don't believe it precludes CMS from continuing to count houses of worship among the  "educational, recreational, civic and cultural activities"  considered acceptable.

"We treat it the same as Mrs. Smith's yoga class,"  said Guy Chamberlain,  the associate superintendent in charge of buildings.

Board member Tim Morgan said he's relieved,  because many south suburban churches count on renting space in schools during their start-up years,  then moving into their own facilities when they can afford it.

In another mop-up item from Tuesday's meeting:  The proposed cell-phone stipend that generated so much buzz on this blog over the weekend was removed from the agenda.  No word on if or when it might reappear.

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