Thursday, June 30, 2011

Morgan announces bid for at-large seat

Tim Morgan, a district representative on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board, announced today that he’s running for an at-large seat on the board. Veteran at-large board members Joe White and Trent Merchant have said they won’t run for re-election in this November’s contest. Kaye McGarry, holder of a third at-large seat with an expiring term, has said she’s considering running again.

“There is an opportunity to step up and fill that leadership void,” Morgan said of White and Merchant’s departure. Morgan, a 1986 graduate of Independence High, was elected in 2009 to represent District 6 in the southeast suburbs. He has worked as a lobbyist for the real estate and construction industry, and as head of the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce. His brother, Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan, attended his announcement ceremony, as did City Council members Warren Cooksey and Andy Dulin.

Morgan has often voted with a five-member majority that backed some of departing Superintendent Peter Gorman’s most important reforms, such as performance-pay for teachers and the “strategic staffing” program that placed high-quality staff in low-performing schools.
He said he has taken leadership roles in exploring privatization possibilities for the school system, and in crafting a pay-to-play program that has helped keep high school athletics running during budget cuts.

Morgan touted the school system’s improvement in the past five years, noting increasing test scores and a narrowing of the achievement gap. He said the selection of a new superintendent ranks among the most important things the new board will do, and added that he wants to find someone who will continue building on Gorman’s successes. He noted controversy over some of Gorman’s initiatives, such as performance pay, new tests, teacher layoffs and school closings. He said he hopes to improve communication between the system and its stakeholders.

He said many of the candidates filing to run for school board have been motivated by their opposition to such moves, and added that he looks forward to debating those issues with them.
“None of those decisions were popular, but they have been necessary,” he said. “I stand by those decisions.” Filing for the seats opens tomorrow, and runs through July 15. Other candidates who’ve declared so far include:

  • Larry Bumgarner, an internet activist who has also made two unsuccessful runs for school board.

  • Elyse Dashew, co-founder of the MeckFUTURE parents’ group that campaigned for additional money for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools this spring.

  • Keith Hurley, a local mortgage banker and dad who has chided local public officials for wasting money.

  • Mary McCray, who former president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators.

  • DeShauna McLamb, a parent who has expressed concern about the closings of schools on Charlotte’s west side.

  • Hans Plotseneder, a West Mecklenburg High teacher who has made two unsuccessful runs for school board previously.

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