A Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools Board of Education proposal to transition Glenwood Elementary into a Mandarin dual language magnet program has drawn flak from community members, teachers and now some board members over the decision-making process.
Frustration boiled over during a CHCCS board meeting Tuesday.
Teachers and community members voiced their disapproval over the way in which the board reached its decision to create a schoolwide Mandarin Dual Language Program at Glenwood Elementary.
Chair of the board Rani Dasi apologized on Tuesday night, and she said the district needed to make sure community stakeholders were heard and that the decision would be reached in an ethical and transparent manner.
“When the board voted on September 20 to approve the schoolwide Mandarin dual-language magnet program at Glenwood, we did not follow our process,” Dasi said. “We did not follow our process and for that I apologize as chair.”
Dasi said she had been concerned by the rapid speed at which the board moved forward with the decision in September and thought the vote had come before sufficient discussion or public input.
There have also been questions raised over what some see as unethical actions by board members. Pat Heinrich has a daughter in the Mandarin Program at Glenwood, and he voted in September to approve moving forward with the transition. Last month, parents made public record requests of Heinrich’s communications, which they say revealed improper communication with pro-magnet parents.
Dasi said those communications concerned her.
“The work we do as a board has to be built on trust,” she said. “The behavior described in the documents is not consistent with good board governance and could compromise other important work before us in the coming year.”
At Tuesday’s meeting in the Lincoln Center, district administration brought a request to the board to delay implementing the magnet program from the 2019-2020 school year to the 2020-2021 academic calendar. No formal vote was held on that recommendation because the board does not vote in work sessions. But the item is scheduled to come back before the board at a meeting in December.