Thanks for all who ran for CMS board; congrats to winners

Nov. 8, 2011

Today’s victory by Ericka Ellis-Stewart, Mary McCray and Tim Morgan closes out a long and difficult, if possibly momentous, election for the CMS Board of Education.

But first let us offer a big thank-you to the host of very public-spirited people who took that step to offer themselves for election to Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s toughest electoral post.

Thanks go to DeShauna McLamb who filed but did not campaign; to Maria L. Collias, Scott Babbidge and Tom Davis who withdrew; and to Lisa Hundley, who was forced to the sidelines by illness.

And thanks to Larry Bumgarner, Elyse Dashew, Keith Hurley, Ken Nelson, Hans Plotseneder, Aaron Pomis, Darrin Rankin, Lloyd Scher and Jeff Wise who made their case to hundreds of members of the public over the course of the campaign.

The campaign was immensely frustrating for many voters, and perhaps for some of the candidates as well. A super-large field of hopefuls is a great sign for the health of our democracy. But without a primary to narrow the field, many voters were left scratching their heads. There were many factors behind Tuesday’s paltry 16% turnout, but the size of the school board field surely was one of them.

The election may be momentous because the eight members who will begin serving together in December, to be joined by a board appointee to serve out Tim Morgan’s District 6 term, will choose the next superintendent, and along the way deal with a host of fundamental educational policy issues.

The new board will soon begin dealing in earnest with the notion that a number of the candidates brought to their campaigns: To move CMS forward, five or more members must cultivate and nurture common ground on the board, and in the community.

Has the election altered the composition of the board enough to lead to a change in board leadership, to a new direction in the testing program, to a less bumpy ride on budgetary matters, to a more open and welcoming culture at the schoolhouse, to a renewed determination to meet the educational needs of every single child in the district?

Editorialists are fond of saying, “Time will tell.” But it really will. And we hope that today’s election results will spur more members of the public into active participation in the future of this community’s public school system.

The community has spoken. Now it is time to help those who will represent the community to come together for the common good, and the future of the community’s children.