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House nixes Wake schools handover

Posted July 24, 2013

Rolesville High School will accommodate 2,000 students.

— After an acrimonious debate that highlighted rifts within the Republican caucus, House lawmakers voted Wednesday not to approve an attempt to hand over Wake County's schools to the county's commissioners. 

Despite the urging of Wake County Republicans and chamber leaders, at least 21 Republicans broke ranks to vote with House Democrats against the bill. It failed to win House approval by a vote of 52 to 64.

The proposal would have made Wake the only county in North Carolina in which the school board did not control school construction and maintenance. That power would have been given to the Wake County Board of Commissioners, which is majority Republican.  

Republican backers of the bill said their aim was to bolster voter confidence in an $810 million school bond issue on the ballot this fall.

"There has to be confidence that the money will be spent wisely," said Rep. Skip Stam, R-Wake. 

But Democrats called it a transparent attempt at political payback by Wake County Republican leaders angry at the school board's Democratic leaders.

"This is just pure politics, a blatant power grab by the Wake County Republican delegation and the county commissioners," said Rep. Rosa Gill, D-Wake. 

Both Republicans and Democrats complained about the process. 

Rep. Jeff Elmore, R-Wilkes, openly challenged Stam and House Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore over their handling of the bill. He was the primary sponsor of the original House Bill 726, a measure completely unrelated to the Wake County schools battle. 

"There were a few minor technical changes – the title changed, and the entire content changed," Elmore said, urging the House to vote against it, despite Stam's support.

School board retains control of Wake school buildings

Finance Committee Chairman Mitch Setzer, R-Catawba, attempted to derail the bill by sending it back to committee for a fiscal note, but his move was stymied by Moore, R-Cleveland, who kept the bill on the floor. 

Rep. Yvonne Holley, D-Wake, said Elmore's bill was hijacked after an earlier attempt failed in committee. 

"Wake County was voted off in committee," Holley said. "I thought this bill was dead. Somehow, I’m learning here in the General Assembly nothing’s dead because you can bring it to life on a whim if you want it brought to life." 

After debate grew heated, Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, another member of the House leadership, cut off debate.

“The process in this bill sucks,” said Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake.

Bill supporters could try to push the measure through again before the end of session, but Wednesday's strong opposition makes that less likely.

"I think it's unfortunate," said sponsor Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake. "You win some, you lose some. We might think about it next year."

School board Chairman Keith Sutton expressed relief at the House vote and said the board would continue to fight efforts to wrest away control of school buildings.

“We need to maintain control over our construction and maintenance of facilities and siting (of future schools), so we will continue to monitor that and watch that and try as best we can to put up a good fight and hold onto it," Sutton said.

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  • gnostradame Jul 25, 2013

    "Gnostradame- I read your posts and your "fact checking" is funny. Just because something is in print or on the internet doesn't mean it is 100% factual. Polls are the worst source since you have NO IDEA who was polled and they are, by fact, always slanted to prove whatever point the story is trying to make! - homesteader29"

    Ha ha ha... a repub talking about "facts".... I know how much "your types" hate science and statistics but statistics don't lie and the FACT is that PPP was slanted toward repubs in last election.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/which-polls-fared-best-and-worst-in-the-2012-presidential-race/?_r=0

  • gnostradame Jul 25, 2013

    "To the 12 or so Repubs that voted against this, we will find out who you are and we will vote you out at the very next opportunity. Count on it! -NoTimeForStupidity"

    Don't worry, we'll help you out with that in 2014.

  • Homesteader79 Jul 25, 2013

    Gnostradame- I read your posts and your "fact checking" is funny. Just because something is in print or on the internet doesn't mean it is 100% factual. Polls are the worst source since you have NO IDEA who was polled and they are, by fact, always slanted to prove whatever point the story is trying to make! What a mental midget you are. If popularity was/is so bad, how did the Republicans get elected in the first place? Expect more of the same as the majority of this State are tired of your types and you are dead wrong. Change is needed, change is painful and it will go on for some time until the ship the Democrats ran aground over the past 100 years is sailing back to prosperity. Want a perfect example of Democratic good to Society? Take a long hard look at Detroit. I grew up there and realized at young age what politics can do to an entire region. Go live there if you think you have all the answers. I am sure they will welcome your input on how to fix things.

  • cary2006 Jul 25, 2013

    is it true that republicans stand for small and local government?

    looking forward to kicking out republican in next LOCAL AND STATE elections.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jul 25, 2013

    To the 12 or so Repubs that voted against this,

    we will find out who you are and we will vote you out at the very next opportunity.

    Count on it!

  • rand321 Jul 25, 2013

    and if the bill was so good, it should apply statewide! not just to one county and district

  • gnostradame Jul 25, 2013

    all you saying "i'm taking my marbles home now, no votey for school bond, waaaaa" I say "who cares what you think, there's not much that can save our schools from this tea party govt anyway"... all the good teachers are going to get the heck out of dodge making less than 40K a year. you people never cease to amaze me how you vote against the well-being of yourselves and your kids.

  • gnostradame Jul 25, 2013

    "Ah that is a shame. I do think the bill should have applied to all counties with a provision that allowed each county to give the commissioners the choice of controlling building and land acquisition or letting in stay in the hands of the school board. With the Wake County school board, particularly with DEMS back in control this is not good news. Just today they spoke about using MAGIC to deal with a tiny reduction in the dollar amounts they get in their grubby hands. -whatelseisnew"

    yea well it didn't apply to all counties. and it was the height of vindictiveness. and it happened this way because these politicians see their short careers in politics ending next year.

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_NC_071613.pdf

  • gnostradame Jul 25, 2013

    ha ha ha... a defeat for the regressives. Those House repubs must be getting nervous about being booted the next election.

    22% drop in support and still plummeting.. in ONLY 3 MONTHS!

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_NC_071613.pdf

  • NE Raleigh Jul 25, 2013

    I'll still be voting no for the school bond.

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