Public education looms large on the minds of south suburban residents who have created the South Mecklenburg Alliance of Responsible Taxpayers, or SMART (you can find it on Facebook). The group organized last month with about 35 people, and they'll be following up next week with talk about education in general and the new alliance between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Project LIFT in particular.
At least a handful of north suburbanites are watching closely and attending meetings as well.
For those who have been around awhile, this evokes echoes of the 2005 "secession" movement that drew hundreds of people to talk about splitting CMS into smaller districts. The movement eventually fizzled, defused in part by the 2006 hiring of Superintendent Peter Gorman, who promised to make the district more responsive and less Charlotte-centric.
Fast forward seven years: CMS is looking for a successor to Gorman. There's a new board majority that riled some suburban folks by appointing a little-known Democrat, Amelia Stinson-Wesley, to a vacant seat representing the Republican-leaning District 6. Bill James, who represents that southern district as a county commissioner, grabbed a lot of interest with a recent email suggesting the Ballantyne area should split off as its own town.
Where is all this heading? For those who want to find out, there are a couple of opportunities next week. On Monday, Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor and Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers have invited residents of those towns to meet Stinson-Wesley at the Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St., from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
And SMART meets from 6:30 to 8 Tuesday at Raintree Country Club Clubhouse, 8600 Raintree Lane.