Something smells fishy in CMS | The CLog

Something smells fishy in CMS



Could it be board chair Molly Griffin and her sneaky ways? Ummm. Maybe. Though she isn't the only one slinkin' around behind closed doors at Eastover Elementary School.

A private meeting convened to let board members and interested parties talk about Eastover Elementary options got tricky Tuesday when the uninvited vice chair of the school board showed up to the session convened by the chair.

N.C. law requires public bodies to announce meetings in advance and open them to the public. Board chair Molly Griffin had invited colleagues Trent Merchant, Tom Tate and James Ross to a session at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' Central Learning Community to discuss plans to relieve crowding at Eastover Elementary. That's one short of a majority, the point at which a private meeting would be illegal.

Griffin also invited about a dozen representatives of several schools and neighborhoods affected by the proposals, as well as Superintendent Peter Gorman, student placement director Scott McCully and other high-ranking administrators.

Griffin said Wednesday she opened the meeting by saying, "I want to be perfectly clear: This is not a negotiation. Nobody in this room can strike a deal."

About 15 minutes into the meeting, vice chair Kaye McGarry arrived. She said she'd learned about it from an e-mail forwarded by a constituent. She called colleagues Larry Gauvreau and Ken Gjertsen, who told her they didn't know about the meeting.

McGarry said she was struck by the size of the crowd and the number of top officials present: "It wasn't just like a little roundtable of eight people coming into Dr. Gorman's office. They had a typed agenda and handouts."

Griffin, noting that five members would constitute an illegal meeting, volunteered to leave and turned the meeting over to Merchant. When Tate left early, she stepped back in.

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