Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CMS bonds in 2013?

After a long recession-driven slump in school construction,  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials laid out a $1.86 billion 10-year plan for school construction and renovation Tuesday.

Planner Mike Raible said the first slice of that plan could go before voters in 2013,  although county officials could also find other ways to provide money.  The last bond vote was in 2007,  when voters approved $516 million.

The plan includes just over $1 billion (in today's dollars) for building 52 new schools,  $717 million for major renovations at 113 schools and $96 million for smaller improvements at 32 sites.  That's 56 percent for growth,  39 percent for renovation and 5 percent for the smaller projects.

Board members got a two-inch-thick book laying out the individual projects, but that hasn't been released publicly yet.  It's the specifics that spark public debate,  as staff and the board decide which projects go to the top of the list.

Among the questions raised Tuesday:  Will CMS continue expanding its preK-8 model by building schools designed to combine those grades?  CMS already has more than a dozen schools that combine elementary and middle grades,  including eight preK-8 neighborhood schools launched this year.  Planners say the 10-year plan includes some opportunities to build more,  including one slated for Huntersville.

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