Wednesday, June 22, 2011

McCray jumps into CMS board race

For most of Superintendent Peter Gorman's tenure, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher Mary McCray has been a public voice for her colleagues.  Now she wants to be part of the board that hires his replacement.

In her five years as president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, McCray was sometimes supportive and sometimes critical of Gorman and the board.  Most recently, she raised questions about their performance-pay plan and opposed the CMS-backed legislation that would let the school board launch such a plan without teacher approval.

"I know we're going to have to have pay for performance,"  McCray said Wednesday, noting that it's part of North Carolina's Race to the Top plan for federal money.  But she said she wants CMS to slow down and get its approach in sync with what the rest of the state is doing, instead of rushing to launch new tests and push the plan when money is tight.  "If there is no money for it, I don't know how we're going to do it."

McCray said she has just stepped down from the CMAE post and retired as a teacher after 24 years with CMS and 10 with Union County.  (To address a question that pops up occasionally:  When McCray worked for CMAE full time, she remained on the CMS roster to allow her eventual return but the teachers group paid her salary.)

She says she wants to hire a superintendent with education experience, and wants to help the board do a better job of listening to the community and earning the trust of CMS' 18,000-plus employees.  "Trust and morale is at an all-time low,"  she said.

McCray, 58, is a registered Democrat making her first bid for public office.  Filing begins July 1 for the November election of three at-large board members.  For posts on the race so far, click here and here; also look for candidate web sites and other information in a rail at the right of this blog.

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