CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Confronted with depressing revenue numbers, this Southern city's school board reluctantly embraced a solution that is increasingly common in America's struggling economy: They voted to close schools, 10 of them.
The decision last month sparked a racially charged uproar. The district is 33 percent white. The majority of the school board is white. In the schools targeted for closure, 95 percent of students are minorities.
Before the vote, hundreds of residents, including many worried black and Latino parents, packed public forums to protest.
Charges of racism were leveled, and the local head of the NAACP was hauled away from one meeting in handcuffs. School board members have received threatening letters.
Yet, strangely, this season of tumult has also been a season of triumph for a district where the leadership professes to put a premium on educating its poor and minority students.