CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Families of special needs students addressed CMS School Board members Tuesday night after finding out a program that helps their own children is being phased out.
While at the meeting, FOX 46 Charlotte learned CMS officials are now scheduled to meet with families affected by the changes Thursday morning.
"We find it outrageous that there was no communication before this decision to move the students out of an all-inclusive, accepting environment at Randolph Middle School."
Parents spoke out at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.
"There was no time that special needs parents were engaged in the process,” Ben McCall said, who is a parent of a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy at Randolph Middle School.
McCall’s child is part of a magnet program, just like the one at Phillip O’Berry Academy of Technology, where students with severe special needs are in a class together. But these classes will soon be no more.
CMS plans to split the programs up by sending them to their neighborhood school and combining them into classes with students who have autism.
"There are serious concerns that I think we as a system should listen to."
Incoming CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox was at the meeting, listening to concerns but said it’s too early to comment on specifics as he doesn’t officially take office until this summer.
"I think one of the things we have to become known for in Charlotte is how well we serve our most challenged students."
Some parents feel, by then, it’ll be too late.
"We don't want to be handed down a decision. We don't want to just be told what we have to do."
The changes would start in the fall of 2017, applying to incoming students. CMS told FOX 46 Charlotte that it’s working in line with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.