◦ Robert Pittenger’s real estate development efforts
have compromised our educational system
◦ The distraction of unnecessary redistricting has
consumed energy that is needed for under-privileged
children and under-performing schools
◦ Mike Croal’s solution ideas for the United States of
District 9 includes
◦ Western Union County
◦ South Charlotte
◦ Caldwell, Hopewell
◦ Cornelius, Davidson
◦ Lake Norman
Cook PVI scale
NC District 9 = R+10
◦ Timeline of Lawson neighborhood land deals
◦ Timeline of Cuthbertson High/Middle School land deals
◦ Effect of redistricting to increase profits for Round One
◦ Timeline of Old Waxhaw-Monroe Rd land deals
Future home of
Robert Pittenger acquires 558 acres that will become Lawson
Robert Pittenger sells 342 acres to Pace-Dowd Properties
Dec 2000: Lewis Family Limited Partnership formed by Evelyn Lewis,
owns the land for Cuthbertson HS/MS, 215.2 acres
2003: Now State Senator Pittenger introduces House Bill
June 2006: Land appraises for $70,000 / acre
7/5/06: Lewis Family LP converted to West Fork Farm LLC, with
William J. Lewis organizing
7/18/06: Cuthbertson Farm LLC organized by William J. Lewis
◦ Deemed not in compliance 3/13/2010
◦ Administratively dissolved 9/2/2010 for failure to file an annual report
◦ Never did file one. Ever.
7/18/06: West Fork Farm LLC (William J Lewis) deeds the land to
Cuthbertson Farm LLC (William J Lewis)
10/23/06: Asking price now $80,000 / acre approved by BOE
1/5/07: Cuthbertson Farm LLC grants deed to Union County BOE
for $17million plus $200,000 in Land Broker fee
2006 School Bond
$174 million dollars to spend on “new schools”
and “additions and renovations”
Buy & Hold
Year Built High School
Distances in Miles
State line or Closest
Closest High School
1960 Forest Hills 11.3 6.3
1960 Monroe 10.7 6.3
1960 Piedmont 4.9 8.7
1960 Sun Valley 10.8 8.4
1962 Parkwood 5.6 7.9
2000 Weddington 5.3 5.4
2005 Porter Ridge 7.6 4.4
2006 Marvin Ridge 0.9 4.4
2009 Cuthbertson 3.6 2.0
pulled into the
initial opening of
Cuthbertson HS &
55 Neighborhoods Redistricted TO Cuthbertson
Cuthbertson HS/MS opens
Source: UCPS document “MS/HS ‘C’ Affected Subdivisions 4/15/2008
Buy & Hold
Source: UCPS Redistricting Maps, Jan 2014
BOE / BOCC
Fight over money
Buy & Hold
Nov 6 UCPS talks reassignment
Robert Pittenger Co
signs but does not file
Deed for large swath of
land in Waxhaw
Jan 14 UC BOE approves
Mar 4 BOE votes for
Jun 16 BOCC reads 1st draft of
tax increase, “counts”
Jun 25 R.P. Co files Deed
Jun 30 FY15 begins w/ 15.4%
26 months Dr. Ellis on the job
8 scheduled Curriculum Committee meetings
4 with posted minutes
36 Board of Education meetings
40+ Opportunities to talk about 3 elementary
schools where less than 20% of children are
◦ Benton Heights
◦ Walter Bickett
2 times discussed improving learning
10 mentions because meeting’s were held there
◦ 1 for a NC Dept. of Instruction visit when scores
jumped from 54% to 72%
17 awards and recognitions
◦ 3 awards or mentions were athletics at Monroe HS
1 for teacher’s residence purchase
1 for being awarded a Title 1 school designation
3 for being recognized for outstanding
performance with scores of 46%, 44%, 59%
Attended curriculum conference at Pinehurst
Budget cuts to all Title I programs
Creating marketing brochures to compete with charter schools
There will be 4-5 CNA academies and Teacher Prep in all HSs
Announces freeze on teacher assistant positions
Discussed with superintendents of other large systems about a
NC House Bill concerning growth
Guest speaker at Union County Republican Women’s Club
Attended legislature reception “to talk about several things”
Will have to cut 13 Early College teachers and 15 EC assistants
May have to cut 65 to 85 teacher assistants
Speaker at the League of Women Voters
Invited to the Governor’s Mansion
Meeting with supers of the other large school districts to
“gather information for their agenda”
Going to Washington D.C. to talk about MSLs
Raised Driver’s Education fee 22% to $55
Produced 27,000 pages of documents for County Commission
Since Aug 13 the majority of my time has been spent in court
“Every child should receive a sound basic education”
Spoke at Sardis Elementary about leadership
Met with Dr. Ed Davis
Invited to speak at legislatures retreat
Test scores are 2nd highest in the state
Need 28 teachers but PowerSchool issues keeping class sizes
Proposes 1% salary increase to non-certified staff
Reports that NC DPI 3rd grade reading goals are unreasonable
Received letter from SVHS Principal concerning leaking roofs
Asked to speak with the NC General Assembly
Hosted NC DPI and UCPS principals
Spoke to legislators on amount of end of year testing
Talked to State rep about 20 academies in UCPS
Working on master’s degrees for teachers in hard to fill spots
Recommend using 3rd grade reading assessment different than
Meeting Type Topic
3/5/13 Board Adopt resolution to keep property and facilities out of county’s hands
Savage gives up her seat on the Facilities Committee to John Collins
Stewart commented he has never been prouder.
Dr. Webb reports on caps at Kensington, Marvin Ridge MS, Porter Ridge MS
McKibben report due in December
Stewart motions to cap-Hodge/Savage oppose, 7-2
Board reminded to complete Dr. Ellis’s evaluations
11/25/13 Facility No discussion on reassignment, just waiting
Stewart requests info on available seats and capacity options
Motion to extend Dr. Ellis contract-Collins/Stewart, 7-0
Motion to extend all senior staff contracts, including adding 4 years to money
man Dan K’s contract-Collins/Stewart 7-0
Dr. Ellis reported that the SPLASH program would be put on hold until “after
redistricting is complete”
1/6/14 Facilities No bubble after this 5 year bubble
4 of 6 speakers speak out against redistricting
1 of the other 2 is Gary Sides announcing his candidacy for BOE
1/14/14 Facilities Releases first round of redistricting maps
Meeting Type Topic
2/18/14 BOE Work
Rejects BOCC $3MM for trailers instead of redistricting
Stewart directs Ellis to develop a strategic plan to account for growth
and renovations. And have it ready in a week for 2/25 Facilities mtg.
13 minute open meeting
No mention of the plan assigned to Ellis the week prior
No discussion of redistricting
At Monroe HS, 3 hours of 3 minute speakers with 95% against
At Parkwood HS, 3 hours of 3 minute speakers with 95% against
3/4/14 Facilities Discuss spending jury award and Public-Private partnerships
3/4/14 Board Redistricting approved, 7-2 Savage/Hodge oppose
Dr. Ellis gets $12,000 raise for going along
Dr. Webb gets $10,000 raise for going along
Attorney Morris gets $10,000 raise for going along
Shelton Jefferies gets $7,500 raise for going along
◦ Govt spot citizens healthcare dollars at life milestones
◦ Citizens pay back with payroll tax
◦ End ACA, Medicaid and Medicare and the overhead
◦ Patrol non-border crossing areas with drones
◦ Non-lethally turn back anyone that tries to cross
◦ Exchange probation for documentation for illegals with no
other criminal activity except entering the USA illegally
◦ Convert 18-wheelers from diesel to natural gas
◦ Whatever you can carry without needing wheels
◦ 3x penalties for crimes committed with guns
◦ Hold gun owners responsible for gun control
◦ Heavy fines when data is not encrypted
◦ Require periodic reenrollment
◦ Means test, make the successful whole, cease
◦ Let unions handle it where they exist
◦ Require it for government jobs
◦ Government regulations are not the answer for private
sector equal pay
◦ Government can provide more data for private jobs and let
citizens make choices of careers and companies to work for
◦ Life begins at conception and ends at natural death
◦ There can never be a law tight enough to end all abortions
◦ Provide an environment of hope and the pursuit of
Same Sex Unions
◦ Clearly homosexual unions
are not the same as
◦ It is something different
◦ There should be a legal
framework for same sex
couples but defaulting to
calling it Marriage is the
solution to a complex
• Eliminate marriage tax benefit
• Create legal framework to allow
• Medical info sharing
• Asset transition
• Other “equality”
Notes de l'éditeur
Our country is in need of ideas and solutions for healthcare, disease prevention, border security, immigration, education, jobs, energy, privacy, intelligence, and a basketful of other issues.
Meanwhile, our elected officials are diverting attention and effort away from real and devastating educational failures in Union County while imposing a 15% tax on the citizens and encroaching on liberties as basic as school choice and property rights.
This report is for District 9 citizens (see map, next page) as much as it is for citizens of Union County. Local elected and appointed officials are responsible for the education and well-being of our student children. When reason escapes them and the voices of the citizens and taxpayers fall upon deaf ears, something else is going on.
This report will shine a bright light on the wizards behind the curtain.
The ones who are pulling the strings.
The ones who are influencing the waste of taxpayer money for personal gain.
The result of which is the persistent educational neglect of low-income and minority children and the busing of the middle class for profit.
As a concerned citizen, the goal of this report is to replace US Representative Robert Pittenger, Republican from NC District 9.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to review this report, and when you vote please
write in MIKE CROAL, US House of Representatives, District 9
The information contained in this report was obtained from public records by a group of dedicated and concerned citizens and arranged by Mike Croal for the benefit of everyone. This report will also be available at www.youtube.com\mikecroal
This report contains 3 sections.
Part 1-All residents of District 9 need to know the actions behind this “conservative Republican”.
Part 2-Describes the consequences of those actions in terms of taking away opportunities for children at risk of government dependency for life. Primarily for parents of Union County school children but is an important story for all.
Part 3-As your Congressman, I promise to work hard on solving problems, not creating them. This section will describe a framework to get our country back on track.
This can’t just be a mad Union County parents fight.
We all see our Congress doing nothing and there is a reason for that. Our’s is too preoccupied with where kids go to school and how to make a profit off of that. Not enough time left to do the country’s work.
If you know someone who lives in District 9, please don’t assume they have seen this report.
I humbly ask you to share it to the point of being annoying.
But it’s only for a week. Then it will all be over and we’ll see what happens.
We can’t be sheep any longer and just mark the only box they give us.
It will take effort to spread the word quickly and allow time for thoughtful review and consideration of the report.
There won’t be mikecroal ads on tv or the radio. Social is the only way this information will spread. Forward, share, follow @mikecroal, like, retweet #mikecroal #croaldudereport. Thank you for your consideration.
Democrats, there is no Democrat on the ballot for District 9. Please help us oust this Congressman by writing in mikecroal for House of Representatives District 9 when you are making your Senate selection. The lines for District 9 were redrawn in 2011 to ensure a Republican. Not just any Republican, but an establishment Republican. We have an opportunity to stop the establishment from getting established. This election. Right now.
With the successful completion of the 2014 Student Reassignment plan, Round One is complete.
Twenty years in the making, Round One contributed to the Great Recession of 2008.
The visual timeline on the next pages tells the complete story based on county records of deeds and student reassignment plans. It is a factual story. Not the made up stories of county-wide overcrowding that our elected officials expected us to believe.
Will we let taxpayer funded schools and redistricting be used to support Round Two? Or will we stop it now?
While this part of the report is most tantalizing, it is second in importance to Part 2 which covers the impact to our educational system and the neglect of children who don’t have a voice.
Cuthbertson Road Joint Venture, a North Carolina general partnership. With Robert Pittenger Company (RPCo), its General Partner signing. On May 10, 1991, RPCo acquired 462 acres from the Delaney Trust. On March 23, 1992, RPCo acquired from the widow Bleeka Boatwright an additional 95 acres adjoining the 462 acres. In 2002 & 2003, RPCo began selling to Pace-Dowd Properties, 342 acres. It is currently being developed as the Lawson subdivision (north and south) next to Cuthbertson HS/MS.
In June 2003, then NC State Senator Pittenger amended HB 705 to allow Waxhaw to annex this land. At the Nov 10, 2003 public hearing, Waxhaw was petitioned by Pace/Dowd and Cuthbertson Road Joint Ventures to have this land be voluntarily annexed. At this same meeting, another 871 acres owned by Pittenger between Hwy75 and Old Waxhaw Monroe Rd was also request to be annexed by Waxhaw. From the Union County Planning Department-Subdivision Approvals, Pace-Dowd Properties has more subdivisions approved for R-20 (Medium-Density Residential, half acre homesites) than any other developer. Since 2001, Pace/Dowd subdivisions have had a 100% success rate of being zoned R-20. These account for 35% of all R-20 subdivisions, and 10% of all 250 subdivisions approved by the county. BUT THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE LAWSON SUBDIVISION. Oddly, county records go back to 2001 but there are no records of zoning changes for Lawson. R-20 allows many more houses to be built in a compact area. This density increases the demand on services including schools, roads, and utilities, which we know results in taxpayers footing the bill. I believe in capitalism and growth. Making a fair and honest profit for hard work is the American way. But when profits are juiced on the backs of taxpayers, that is where we need to say STOP!
House Bill 705 introduced in the NC State Assembly during the 2003-2004 session for Matthews annexation. Amended to include the Lawson property to be annexed into Waxhaw. Aye (yes) votes by State Senator Robert Pittenger twice on June 23 and a final time on June 24, 2003. As part of the town of Waxhaw, it is no longer rural and can and will be rezoned much denser, selling more houses. The minutes of the Nov 10, 2003 Waxhaw Town Council reveal that Commissioners Lane and Hall want Waxhaw to control this land and not Mineral Springs or Union County. Before voting to annex this Pittenger land and another close-by parcel to be zoned CU-OIS (school), Waxhaw Town Attorney Helder indicated that the annexed close-by parcel would be offered in the future to the Union County BOE for a school site. The Waxhaw Clerk records indicated that all Pittenger’s Lawson land holdings for his Round One Lawson scheme and the 1,200 acres on Hwy 75 north of Old Waxhaw-Monroe Rd were approved for annexation into Waxhaw.
On August 15, 2005 the remainder of the Lawson property goes to Pace Dowd. By the end of August, not only had Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and flooded New Orleans, but the floodgates of Lawson had opened up. Buyers were lined up and waiting. By Aug 31, 2005, deeds for lots were granted to Shea Homes LLC, Beacon Homes of Charlotte Inc, NVR, Inc, Ryland Group Inc. Shea, Beacon, and Ryland would come back for more and a second helping before the month was over.
Cuthbertson Road Joint Venture, led by the Robert Pittenger Co, ringing the dinner bell.
This William Lewis is the Bill Lewis of the Lewis Family LP/West Fork Farm LLC that formed Cuthbertson Farm LLC on July 18, 2006.
On that very same day, the same Bill Lewis, as West Fork Farm LLC, grants the deed to Cuthbertson Farm LLC.
Six months and $17MM later the deed is granted by Cuthbertson Farm LLC to the BOE.
But the only record of Cuthbertson Farm LLC’s existence is the initial filing.
Nothing else. No annual reports. Ever. The LLC was automatically dissolved by the State after four years of non-filing.
I find that strange. One of the largest land transactions in the history of UCPS and Lewis sells to Lewis sells to BOE with zero transparency from an LLC that was in existence for less than 6 months.
More concerning is how between June 2006 and Oct 2006, just 4 months, the Cuthbertson Farm LLC was able to increase the asking price 14% from $70,000 per acre to $80,000 per acre.
Remember, this is the land soon to be Cuthbertson HS/MS that the taxpayers are paying for.
I propose that the event that led to this increase in price is the fact that by October 2006 Union County was well on its way to approving a School Bond referendum. The holders of the land, that mysterious Cuthbertson Farm LLC, knew the county would have almost a blank check and held the property as hostage to get more of the taxpayers money.
In November 2006, thanks to the citizens and taxpayers, Union County Public Schools learned it would get more money to spend on schools.
Not long after it had just completed building the Marvin Ridge and Porter Ridge campuses.
Between 1998 & 2006 there were six (6) bond issues totaling $501.7 million dollars.
People were mad about where Marvin Ridge was built, way up in the corner like that.
You can’t blame them for being mad.
You don’t build schools in a corner bounded by other states and counties. It is a bad decision.
Unless you own the land very close to it.
Schools built near State and County lines limit the area from which it can pull students. Unless Union County annexes parts of South Carolina or Mecklenburg County, then Marvin High School will be empty in 10 years. Why would we build any high school or middle school that can only draw students from less than a mile from a hard border for most of the area around the school? Marvin and Cuthbertson will be fighting over neighborhoods in 10 years to get those neighborhoods redistricted into their schools. Unless someone changes the zoning to allow more houses. The distance between the school and a state/county border also needs to be considered with the distance to other schools. Across UCPS high schools, the median distance between them is 10.4 miles. Half of the schools are more than 10.4 miles apart, half are less than 10.4 miles apart. 10 miles apart means each school can have a radius of 5 miles without encroaching on neighborhoods that feed the other school. This chart shows how the newer schools have been built too close to each other. Cuthbertson and Weddington are 2 miles apart. So when either reaches out more than a mile, they are pulling from neighborhoods that have a closer school. This is at the heart of our problem. The BOE, headed by Dr. Ed Davis, allowed schools to be built that will not be able to stay full without either 2006-2008 county growth rates or without reaching further out. The empty nesters, households that no longer have children are the fastest growing segment of the population. Unless current Marvin and Cuthbertson students move back to their parents house after college and raise their own kids in those houses, the current neighborhoods will not be contributing to UCPS enrollment. This is the long term decline in growth that Dr. McKibben has forecasted 3 times.
April 2008, 55 neighborhoods (highlighted in purple) were announced and marketed to be moved from their current old schools and placed into the new Cuthbertson HS & MS. This was announced in April 2008 and would be effective for the school year beginning 2009-10.
Families paid premiums for houses in these neighborhoods for the new schools. The UCPSsurvey indicated that 93% of families bought their homes for the schools. When this is taken away it is an infringement on our liberty. Made worse when the root cause is elected government officials.
Then September 2008 and its self-induced real estate crash comes along followed by the Great Recession of 08-09. Housing sales were not meeting targets in the Cuthbertson area. But Cuthbertson HS & MS needed to open and look full or there would be questions that would need answers.
It only needed to look full for just a little while. We can kick them back to where they came from later and feel good about it.
Even though there were no crowding issues at Parkwood or Marvin, these neighborhoods were reassigned to Cuthbertson HS/MS for the 2009-10 school year.
Bad decision. Outside influence. The doctor told me so.
The Board of Education and the County Commissioners waste 4 years fighting over money, while nobody is minding the shop.
The BOE Facilities committee receives “redistricting training” on Nov 6, 2013, completes a thorough, exhaustive, comprehensive, leave-no-rock-unturned, county-wide redistricting study over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays. The Facilities Committee announces and the BOE approves the redistricting plan on January 14, 2014.
One result of their study and recommendation is that of the 55 neighborhoods that were selected to fill up Cuthbertson in Aug 2009, less than three and half years prior, of these 55 only 17 “starred” subdivision are allowed to stay at the school. The other 38 neighborhoods are moved out to make room for the next phase of this Round 1 of this get rich quick scheme. 25 years is pretty quick when you think about.
The BOE spent $17 million on land for Cuthbertson and $40-ish million on the building. And after 3.5 years we have to address it again. Because our children and our homes are being treated as inventory. And we aren’t turning over fast enough. Well you know what else doesn’t turn over fast enough? Politicians.
Cuthbertson HS & MS were built in the wrong place, at the wrong time, for the wrong price, and wrong reasons.
0 for 4. If these are the decisions our elected officials make for our local benefit, heaven help us with decisions at a national level. Write in mikecroal , District 9.
The timeline gets a bit more interesting in late 2013 and 2014.
For each of the 37 deeds that were researched for this report, all except 1 were signed by the grantor and filed at the courthouse within a week of signing. Old Waxhaw-Monroe Rd JV waited 7 months after signing to file it at the courthouse. What was special about June 25, 2014? What happened in between Nov 15, 2013 and June 25, 2014.
The Citizens for Adequate Public Schools CAPS lawsuit was still in court, and would not be ruled on until July 23, 2014. It looks like elected officials weren’t worried about waiting on a judge’s ruling.
Mr. Jeff Yates, Union County Executive Director of Administrative Services, presented the 1st reading of the numbers for the Fiscal Year FY15 budget on June 16, 2014. Union County’s fiscal and budget year is June 30 to July 1. First reading was 2 weeks from the deadline to have a budget for next year. Maybe the BOCC was hoping for a peaceful resolution. Didn’t happen.
The men discuss it amongst themselves, count votes, see where each other stands. In the end, tax passes 3-2. A 2-year tax increase of 15.4%. And it could go up after that. It is projected to. Chairman Frank H. Aikmus, Vice Chairman Jerry B. Simpson, and Commissioner Richard B. Helms, Sr. voted in favor of the motion.
Commissioners Todd Johnson and Jonathan Thomas voted against the motion.
Say no to stupid taxes.
Say yes to smart decisions.
Write in mikecroal
Stability in the growth of expenses is a requirement. At the national and the local level. And if you can’t do it on a couple of hundred million $ base, we can’t expect you to do it on a 17 trillion dollars in debt basis. To mitigate the risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water, look at the county’s expense growth.
It appears that the county is doing a fine job maintaining expenses in all areas except education. After spending a morning with Jeff Yates, and on a separate call with Cindy Coto, County Manager, it appears the numbers are backed up with actions. Mr. Yates is the CFO for the county and has done a fine job refinancing and restructuring the county’s debt. The end result is evident in the bottom left chart. Negative growth in expenses. He is saving us money. Other county programs have also tightened their belt and are performing well.
Now look at the growth in spending year over year in education. Yet the story we hear is that there is no money for roofs or MRCs. The spending growth doesn’t appear to be a leading or trailing indicator of anything except houses sold. And therein lies a problem. The State of NC has laws that prohibit the county elected officials from controlling the expenses of the Board of Education. The position in the House of Representatives that mikecroal is running for should also not have a say in this matter. For neither good nor evil. Write in mikecroal. Part 2 of The Croal Dude Report 2.0 will discuss why the Board of Education should focus on Education in the classroom and not on the buildings and the dirt. The county is in a much better position to manage our plants and facilities.
Can you see how dense Lawson is?
The spot with green dots to the left of Lawson is the reason all those kids who live a little further out got kicked out of Cuthbertson.
Wasn’t gonna be room for them when all these new kids move in.
This is the current zoning districts for Waxhaw.
Red is the commercial zone, yellow is some residential at R-40, one house per 40,000 sq ft., call it an acre.
Green is the R-20, one house per 20,000 sq. ft.
Property can be rezoned.
All that grey space around the northwest side of Lawson. What do we need to do with that?
The deed is registered to West Fork Farm LLC. The renamed Lewis Family Trust, organized by Bill Lewis, who deeded Cuthbertson land to Cuthbertson Farm LLC, who disappeared right after deeding it to the Board of Education. Same LLC.
Let’s look at future land use plans and zoning districts for Waxhaw.
Notice the additional orange color near Cuthbertson H.S./M.S. That’s an extra level of density that is planned for the future.
South of Millbridge is also planned to move on up to Medium-Density.
The big green asterisks are potential park sites.
The prospect of planned parks in these Medium-Density locations is a nice touch.
Notice down near the bottom there is a hint of orange but it is covered up by three nice parks.
Or at least the prospect for three. Four if you count the one across the highway.
Four. All right there. Just for them.
The other Medium-Density areas only get one each.
They’ll be alright.
They got a good school.
The Pittenger JV to Pittenger LLC deed that was signed on Nov 15, 2013 but not recorded Jun 25, 2014. Why wait to transfer from a Joint Venture to a LLC? Possibly waiting to see the results of the BOE’s Redistricting Vote? Or maybe the judges ruling? What is significant about Jun 25, 2014? It was the tax increase. Just waiting for it get approved so he knows how much money the BOE will have to spend. Hwy 75 LLC was organized by Suzanne Pittenger 11/5/1993 and listed Robert Pittenger as manager Jan 1994. Hwy 75 LLC owned the 311 acres on Hwy 75 as well as the 84 acres south of Old Waxhaw-Monroe Rd. In Nov 2003, Hwy 75 LLC requested voluntary annexation into the town of Waxhaw. Waxhaw planning board recommended it. Attorney Jake Helder representing Pittenger stated “Mr. Pittenger and his associates are looking for the best interests of the community and what would benefit the surrounding area.” Daniel Burns, associate of Pittenger feels Waxhaw offers best opportunity. Most of the land was approved to be rezoned from R-40 (1 house per 40,000 sq ft) to CU R3 PRD (multi-family, dense). 30 of these acres were also rezoned for a school. In 2003. Why the rush 11 years ago? Round Two will be Pittenger’s cronies “donating” this 30 acres for a school while UCPS builds another school on Dorster over where they own property acquired in December 2005? Right after August 2005 when Pace/Dowd started unloading Lawson on developers. Do you think some of these same neighborhoods will get redistricted again?
Do you think Robert Pittenger and his associates are looking for the best interests of the community or their bank accounts?
Do you think Robert Pittenger will have time to solve the country’s problems?
For years now, the BOE has been complaining about there are no funds for basic maintenance on schools. Yet there has been over $500 million dollars in bond referendums in addition to the funds allocated to the BOE annually by the county. The problem is not a lack of money but a lack of discipline and integrity using the funds for education.
It is unacceptable that elementary students in UCPS can’t be taught English well enough to be proficient. This manifests itself in poor test scores. If the BOE and UCPS administration can’t achieve this fundamental goal, it is as criminal as it is incompetent.
While the county has been turned upside down because of redistricting, while the facilities are in need of desperate repairs, and while the average proficiency in some UCPS schools is 20%, Dr. Webb is receiving Outstanding Leader Award, and Dr. Ellis is receiving Regional Superintendent of the Year. These awards are nothing more than political cover to say to US Dept. of Education and the NC Dept. of Instruction “Nothing going here. Look at all these awards our administrators are receiving.”
The Board of Education is aware of all of this and allows it to occur. Everyone of them should be ashamed.
Dr. Ellis, during the summer, how many days did the UCPS staff work on the schools on the left? Lots of work to get all those schedules for the Weddington and Sandy Ridge, and Kensington kids that got kicked out. How many days did you devote to the right hand side of the list? Schools where proficiency scores are 20%. 1 student out of 5 at these schools are proficient in English and Math. Do you hear me? 1 out of 5. Does the Board of Education ever spend time on the right hand side of the graph? There are averages we can live with, like the average temperature of a classroom, or the average distance from a neighborhood to the school. If one student’s classroom is little hotter than another student’s we can live with that. If it gets to be too hot we can install a new air conditioner and fix that. Or if one student’s neighborhood average distance is a little too close to a certain school that another student might want to attend, we can just reassign a student to another school. But when the average proficiency of a whole school of children is below 20%, that is a disgrace. The BOE spouts graduation rates and overall scores. But when it comes to education, EVERY student score counts. It is possible to hide behind these averages and get awards and raises for busing children. But the trophy should be for standing up for these children. Not for doing the bidding of developers.
In the business world, when there is a fire in a department or a product, management and the board tend to talk about it in meetings and keep it on the agenda. Managers present improvement plans, measuring systems, and put effort into putting out the fire. There is a fire in Forest Hills cluster of elementary schools and smoldering ashes in Monroe.
If a Board of Education were going to be discussing putting out real educational fires, and not student reassignment fire drills, it would likely be discussed in the Curriculum Committee or before the full Board. Dr. Ellis’ resume indicates a Curriculum Specialty. This should be an area of interest and expertise. According to the UCPS BOE website, going back to July 1, 2012, when Dr. Ellis became Superintendent of UCPS, there have only been 8 scheduled meetings of the Curriculum Committee. Only half of those have approved minutes posted. Including the 36 BOE meetings, there were over 40 opportunities for Dr. Ellis and the Board of EDUCATION to discuss 3 elementary schools in the Monroe Cluster with high concentrations of black and hispanic children that are performing poorly. A review of the minutes from the Board of Education and Curriculum Committee minutes shows they were discussed twice. 8/2/12 Curriculum Committee Dr. Ellis discussed using teachers as tutors at Benton Heights and would report to the BOE on 8/7/12. At the BOE meeting on 8/7/12 it was announced that Dan Karpinski, CFO and money man for UCPS, would take over the tutoring program. What does a CFO know about tutoring up children at a Title 1 school except how improved scores would affect funding? Can’t have the Curriculum lady getting too close until she learns the rules.
The search for references to conversations about troubled schools was expanded to find any reference to schools in the Monroe or Forest Hills clusters. These clusters have the lowest performing elementary schools feeding the lowest performing middle schools, feeding the lowest performing high schools. Surely we talked about them some during the last two years?!?
Nope. Expanding the search for Board and Committee level discussions about 2 high schools (Forest Hills & Monroe), 2 middle schools, and 11 at risk elementary schools proved disappointing as well. Looking for some mention of one of these 15 schools to understand if we are working on solutions to get these children off the bottom.
Meetings were held in some of these locations so they were mentioned in the minutes.
The only time we mention Monroe is when they hold a meeting or win a track meet.
Try and give my child’s school an award for outstanding performance at 44% proficiency and see what happens.
Going through the minutes further revealed a bit of a theme and either a smoking gun or clairvoyance. These are from the Superintendent’s Report section of the Board minutes or topics from the 4 Curriculum Committee minutes produced in the last 26 months.
Dr. Ellis is either talking about cuts to teachers and programs or meeting with politicians, political groups, or other large school districts. But not about solving the hardest problems in Monroe and Forest Hills.
We know who else works in Washington D.C.
Fees on the middle class going up.
Wasting valuable time making copies and in court.
“Every child should receive a sound basic education”
Nice quote but where’s the beef?
In my dictionary Every equals Every, All, Each One.
In Dr. Ellis’ Every =All except the schools in Monroe and Forest Hills.
Dr. Ed Davis is the brainchild behind the Cuthberston HS/MS land purchase and the Chair of the Union County Education Foundation.
Test scores are good but not Every kid gets them. Don’t hide behind the averages.
4 months into the 2013-14 school year and a piece of software stands between smaller class sizes and 28 teachers.
Minutes from the 12/19/2013 Curriculum Committee indicate approving minutes from a meeting on 8/6/13 and there is no record of the meeting on the website. Sloppy.
Notice the trend of a meeting with politicians and the connected just prior to the Redistricting Plan. While the good ole boys have been planning this for a while, Dr. Ellis wasn’t brought into the loop until they were about to pull the trigger.
Not much to talk about. Just complaining that teaching children to read is too hard.
And more conversations with politicians.
Since there seems to be a need or desire for the superintendent to have conversations with politicians, let me make one promise. When mikecroal is elected as US House of Representatives for District 9, mikecroal will call Dr. Ellis every school day to hear what the plan is to address Rock Rest Elementary, Marshville Elementary, Wingate Elementary, Union Elementary, Benton Heights Elementary, East Elementary, Walter Bickett Elementary.
8/6/13 Not sure what Stewart has to be proud about.
Here is the smoking gun.
On 12/19/13, a full 30 days before the Facilities Committee presented the redistricting plan, Dr. Ellis is stopping programs because she knows redistricting is a done deal.
A full 60 days between the initial capping discussion on 11/12/13 and presenting the redistricting maps, the Facilities Committee’s only meeting is on 1/6/14 where it is discussed that McKibben does not see a new bubble coming after this bubble works its way through in 5 years. McKibben doesn’t know about R.P. Co’s other plans.
12/10/13 Gary Sides is running for BOE against Chairman Richard Yercheck, a much better choice than Yercheck.
On 1/7/14, after doing nothing for 2 months, Stewart “wants parents to know the Board takes this seriously”.
1/14/14 Maps are released.
This is how it shook out in the end. Looking ahead and how to fix it.
Step 1 is getting Federal legislation for school choice, including grandfathering a home purchaser into that school. Write in mikecroal House of Representatives District 9.
Step 2 is to replace as many UCPS BOE members as possible.
Marce Savage might be a keeper. She is the only one up for reelection who took the time to review the first Croal Dude Report.
She voted against reassignment. But she did let Yerchek talk her into giving up her seat on the Facilities Committee to John Collins and joined the Curriculum Committee which does not get much done for the students that need it. Her cluster, Marvin Ridge, doesn’t need curriculum help but she should recognize that Forest Hills and Monroe do.
Step 3 is get a fresh CFO in UCPS. Dan K. has a contract for 4 more years but it is probably cheaper in the long run to buy it out.
Step 4 is to get a Superintendent of Education with a backbone to stand up for children.
Step 5 is to get state level legislation that puts the land and facilities in the hands of the county commissioners. The BOE is in over their head trying to manage facilities when they can’t even teach children to read.
The red number are the difference from 2013-14 enrollment.
Kensington has 305 less students than last year while just down the road Western Union has 258 more.
The black numbers are how far off from the forecast the actual enrollment came in.
A negative number here means that in addition to all the kids that got kicked out, fewer kids showed up.
Kensington ES is 132 below the forecast, Weddington is 132 below the forecast, and Sandy Ridge is 88 below.
New Town ES is 157 over. New Town received a 305 students from Kensington, 70 from Weddington, and 82 from Sandy Ridge.
If these schools had just been left alone, they each would be fine.
Marvin ES, Rea View ES, and Sandy Ridge ES are under the forecast by 34,9, and 88, respectively. No children were kicked out of these schools so there is plenty of room for new kids to move in with 313 less elementary students than last year.
Title 1 elementary schools are 75 over the forecast so they are getting less attention than before redistricting.
If the goal of redistricting was to make room for developers in Marvin, Cuthbertson, and Indian Trail, it worked.
Marvin Ridge MS has 171 fewer middle school students this year.
Cuthbertson MS 207 fewer.
Weddington MS 155 fewer.
Porter Ridge MS has 48 fewer.
You can see they all got shoved into Parkwood, Monroe, Piedmont, East Union, and Sun Valley.
Dr. Ellis and Dr. Webb should be ashamed for letting this happen.
The Board of Education has allowed our school system to be compromised by land developers.
The middle class is getting tax increased and bussed.
The students that need more attention are competing with hundreds of new students.
Where is the liberty in this? Where is the justice? Who will stand up with me?
Write in mikecroal House of Representatives District 9
Healthcare-Access to doctors and taking care of yourself through free exercise and nutrition keeps people healthy. Not insurance. Give citizens a health debit card and $25,000 at birth. Add $25,000 at 18, and 50. I gets paid back with payroll medical tax that increases as you earn more. When the balance is paid, the tax stops. When the funds are used, that’s all.
Border Security-It is not about locking down the borders. There are 23 legal southern border crossings. Leave them open. Just make people go through them. It is about exercising our right as a sovereign nation to know who is in our country, who comes in, and who leaves. We must be able to get agreement on that.
Illegal Aliens-Amnesty (noun: an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses) is not the answer. They haven’t been convicted yet. Probation to allow those convicted of only one crime, being in the USA illegally, could be an answer. Make all undocumented register by 6/30/15. Don’t get documented, get deported. Get documented and no rap sheet, get probation. Get in trouble while on probation, get deported.
Energy-Spend government dollars to convert truck stops to natural gas dispensers. Importing or refining oil for diesel can be replaced with clean, natural gas we have an abundance of.
2nd Amendment-Whatever you can carry. If it has to be mounted on wheels or in the bed of a truck to move it, too big, not needed. Increase sentences 3x for crimes committed with guns. Same laws, just multiply sentence by 3 when a gun is used. If a gun owner’s gun is used in a crime, and the gun owner has not already reported that gun missing, the gun owner is negligent and culpable. Owning a gun is a right. Maintaining control over it is a responsibility. 99% of gun owners will never be convicted of a crime. Ever.
Privacy-We currently get 30 government mandated privacy notices a year. We get 15 new debit cards a year because our private information is stolen almost weekly. Fine companies large, large sums when they don’t encrypt data. Encryption technology has been around for a century.
Benefits-Government sends billions each year to dead people. Government cares about you so much, they don’t even know when you are dead. Everyone receiving a government check or EFT has to re-register. Stop paying anyone who doesn’t. Means test recipients, ensure they receive everything they paid in, then no more. They are blessed to not need it and others need it more. Make sure the others really need it and are still alive.
Equal Pay-For jobs that fall under a labor union, the responsibility of the union is to ensure equal pay. If not, what is the purpose of a union? For jobs in the public sector, where the employer is a government agency, there should be one pay scale that applies to all incumbents of a position. For jobs in the private sector, it is not the role of government to say how much this architect is worth, or how much this bank teller should make. That is too much government control over the value of a person to a private company, which is measured on job performance, skills, teamwork, leadership, etc. The government has no idea how much one person contributes versus another.
The role government is to collect and make easily accessible information so that employees can make decisions on which companies they want to work for. A citizen today can research the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Registered Nurses http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm and determine if their pay is in the range. This availability of information will increase the market nature of jobs. I would be in support of taking this data two levels deeper and showing the same based on gender and race. If an employee wants to use this data to file a claim, that is already a citizens right.
Increased government regulation telling companies what to pay private employees is not necessary.
Abortion-Even if there was a law that said all abortion and all suicides are illegal, it would be broken daily. Turning women into criminals for being in a position to consider abortion as a choice is not the support they need.
Same Sex Unions-Congress has not acted, they have abdicated the decision to the courts and the only option the court has is to call same sex unions Marriage. Marriage was not invented by governments, and to equate same sex couples to Marriage is an affront to the 96% of couples that are not same sex. However, just because same sex unions are difference than Marriage doesn’t mean that we can’t give some legal protections to same sex couples over the age of 18. There should be a way to provide a legal foundation for same sex couples to share assets during life and transition them after the death of one partner. Same sex couples should be able to issue medical directives for partners. Same sex unions of this nature should be recognized nationally by changing or repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, not by Obama and Holder’s directive to just ignore the law.
If the big equality issue is the tax benefit of “married filing jointly, or married filing separately, kill it. Couples don’t get married for tax benefits. Some say the policy encourages marriage, which promotes families, which promotes children, which provides future taxpayers. I would say people were getting married, creating families and having kids long before the IRS got involved.
There should continue to be a tax benefit for families with dependent children. Not that families have children for tax benefits. The fact is that families with children spend more to raise children than families without children. And children as future taxpayers are the only way to continue to fund the government. So this additional expense to the family for the future benefit of the government justifies a tax break.
If Robert Pittenger wants to be a land developer, go for it.
It doesn’t appear anyone is stopping him.
But he needs to get out of D.C. because he is not helping.
We have too many problems that need solutions and he has too many paychecks.
Together, let’s do something about it.
I promise that you will be my only paycheck for the next two years.
I am asking for your write-in vote.
I am asking you to share this message.