#ThrowbackThursday: February 22, 2007

With permission, The Beacon is archiving past issues of Matthews Record (also called Matthews News and Record and The Matthews Record) articles online. Throwback Thursday articles will include relevant content still facing Matthews today. This story was originally published February 22, 2007 and was written by Janet Denk.

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CMS Learning Communities, construction discussed

Former Butler principal Joel Ritchie, who was named the first area superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools last month, was back on his old stomping grounds last Monday.

Not in the Butler Bulldog pen, but rather at Town Hall, delivering information about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ decentralization plan. He was joined by CMS executive director of Facilities Planning and Real Estate, Mike Raible, who talked about construction.


CMS will decentralize into six geographic areas based on growth projections and municipal and neighborhood boundaries. Each area ranges from 17,000 to 25,000 students. The initial cost estimate for the decentralization and establishment of area offices is about $8 million. The goal is to help each school become more closely aligned with the community it serves, and it will put resources and administration closer to parents and other members of the public. An area superintendent will lead each of the six areas, dubbed learning communities. A seventh area, called the Achievement Zone, contains 10 schools with low test scores and high needs.


The school system needs $2.5 billion for construction over the next decade to keep up with explosive growth and enrollment, according to CMS officials.

The two main proposals are where to spend the money and how to build the schools. Superintendent Peter Gorman is calling for building more suburban schools and fewer renovations closer to the center city. A panel that included educators, designers, and contractors recommended about 75 ways to save money. Some of the cuts are sore spots for different areas - for instance - having high schools share football stadiums and auditoriums.