Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Neighborhood schools advocates win in Wake

Voters in Wake County sent more than a message Tuesday when they overwhelmingly voted into office three opponents of Wake County School's diversity policy and advocates for more neighborhood schools. Voters also came close to putting a fourth critic of the existing policy into office, but there may be a runoff for that seat. One member of the board, Ron Margiotta, already opposes current policy. The overall impact of the election, so far, is that four members of the nine-member Wake County School Board will be advocates for more neighborhood schools, and potentially a fifth could be elected, giving the board a majority of change advocates.

Deborah Prickett, Debra Goldman and Chris Malone won their races handily with margins averaging 22 percent over candidates favoring the current school assignment and busing policies, the News & Observer notes. In the fourth race at issue, change advocate John Tedesco got 49 percent of the vote; Cathy Pruitt, who considers herself a potential swing vote on the board if she were to call for a runoff and win the election, got 24 percent and incumbent Horace Tart, who loses his seat, got 23 percent.

Wake County has long had a good reputation for its public schools, using busing and frequent student reassignments, among other policies, to maintain racial diversity at its schools. But many parents across the city have become increasingly concerned about assignment policies. That concern developed into strong interest in remaking the school board in this election. Both the local chamber of commerce and a number of local leaders, fearing a change to neighborhood schools would lead to re-segregation, tried late in the campaign to generate concern among other voters about keeping current policies in place, but public opinion polls ran strongly in the other direction. With a low turnout Tuesday of about 9 percent, advocates of change carried the day.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This would never happen in Charlotte b/c the voters are too ignorant to realize that 2 hrs a day on a bus across town could be spent on education, family time, sports activities, etc instead of social engineering policies that continue to produce horrifying scholastic results.

diggndeeper said...

There are two problems with electing district school board members that support neighborhood schools. One, the districts are gerry mandered to dilute the suburban vote in order to give advantage to the libs and minorities. Second, ballot boxes from a few precincts will show up after midnight and suddenly a democrat will jump from out of the running to get elected, a la Parks Helms the last time he was elected.

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