MATTHEWS – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison will be in Matthews next week to meet with local business leaders and give a rundown on what to expect this school year and in the near future.
The Matthews Chamber of Commerce will host a luncheon with Morrison on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Carmel Baptist Church, 1145 Pineville-Matthews Road. People must register to attend by noon on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at www.matthewschamber.org.
This will be the first time Morrison has addressed the Matthews chamber, which typically has CMS superintendents come in annually for a discussion about local schools and what business leaders can do to support students.
Last year was Morrison’s first with the district.
“We can’t have successful businesses or people who want to move here … without good schools,” said Tina Whitley, executive director of the chamber. “We are incredible proponents of keeping the schools healthy.”
The Matthews chamber regularly works with area schools, helping host fundraisers for Butler High, Crestdale Middle and Elizabeth Lane and Matthews elementary schools, as well as a number of private schools. The chamber helped supply computers to Matthews Elementary, helped teachers and staff move into Crestdale Middle when it opened and honors seniors at Butler and Providence high schools.
“It’s very important to have healthy, strong schools,” Whitley said, “or you don’t have healthy, strong businesses.”
Morrison agrees, which is one of the reasons he meets with groups such as the Matthews chamber to fill them in on what their school system is up to.
“I really appreciate these opportunities … to talk about our organization, where we are, where we are going,” Morrison said. He also hopes to receive input from Matthews residents about the district’s evolving strategic plan, and will welcome any ideas about “getting better,” Morrison said.
It’s key for businesses to get involved in their school system, Morrison said, because it helps CMS prepare students for jobs available today and jobs available in the near future. That helps students to not only prepare for college or a career, but also helps businesses by making sure they have a trained workforce.
“We need to prepare (students) for a 21st century job,” Morrison said. The superintendent said it’s also important to work with area businesses to get input on designs for new schools.
Wednesday’s luncheon will include a presentation by Morrison and a time for questions from business leaders. Whitley said she expects people will be interested to hear about this year’s school budget with recent funding cuts from the state level, as well as new developments CMS is working on with Mecklenburg County and Central Piedmont Community College.
“My daughter is a teacher, so I’m very concerned about the treatment of teachers,” Whitley said. “I’d like to hear about (Morrison’s) plans, how he feels about the legislation that’s come down from Raleigh and how that affects our local schools.”
The chamber will next host a panel discussion on small businesses, on Oct. 9, and a business tax expert will speak at a discussion in November. Find more information on these events and the chamber at its website.