Wake County Schools

Lawsuit challenges new Wake Board of Ed districts

Posted August 22, 2013

Bill Fletcher, representative of District 9 on the Wake County Board of Education, is one of 8 candidates vying for seats this fall.

— A coalition of citizens and community groups filed a lawsuit Thursday afternoon, challenging a new state law which redrew the district boundaries for the Wake County Board of Education.

The law redistributes the school board's nine seats over seven individual districts and two regional "super-districts" – an outer ring that covers the county's more rural areas and an urban district taking in most of Raleigh and Cary. 

Plaintiffs allege that the population of the new districts is unbalanced, devaluing the votes of those who live in more populous districts.

“My vote is no less important than any other Wake County voter,” said Calla Wright, a Raleigh resident and president of Concerned Citizens for African American Children.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed the suit on behalf of 13 individuals and two community groups.

“The federal courts have made clear that favoring rural voters over urban voters, or favoring one political party over another are not legitimate justifications for deviations from the one-person, one-vote principle. This plan is unbalanced and unfair to Wake County voters,” said Anita Earls, executive director of the coalition.

Plaintiff Amy Womble argued that the change would benefit candidates likely to change, again, the student assignment plan that distributes students across the countywide public school system.

The Wake County Board of Education has swung from Democratic control to a Republican majority and back again in the past five years, which each change prompting another look at student assignment.

New districts would make another upheaval partisan shift a possibility, a concern for plaintiff Amy Womble.

“Our children are more important than partisan political victories,” Womble said. “This redistricting plan was designed to change the makeup of the Wake County School Board to include members who would return to policies of re-segregation and undermining of public education."

The changes are not set to take effect until 2016, and all nine board seats would be up for grabs at that time.  Four seats – representing districts 1, 2, 7 and 9 – are on the ballot this fall. The winners would serve a modified three-year term before the new law takes effect.

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  • beaupeep Aug 23, 2013

    '“My vote is no less important than any other Wake County voter,” said Calla Wright, a Raleigh resident and president of Concerned Citizens for African American Children'....AND a WCPSS teacher.

  • beaupeep Aug 23, 2013

    I believe their job is to OFFER a quality education.

    You cannot GIVE what will not be TAKEN.

  • ginlee00 Aug 23, 2013

    Maybe this is because most of the discipline problems are caused by these minority students

  • IPayYouPay Aug 23, 2013

    That's what Republicans like to do. You can note that at every Republican National Convention, VERY few African-Americans are gathered there, whereas the Democrats have an array of colors in their audience. While unaffiliated, I'm proud to lean to the left more than the right. So proud, even if not very popular right now. That's okay.

  • BernsteinIII Aug 23, 2013

    Wake County Public School System is too big. It needs to be dismantled so there can be local management and representation.

  • ConservativeVoter Aug 23, 2013

    "um the elections have been odd # yrs for the BOE since the '70s mmtlash"

    Amazing little fact seeing that it's documented our schools have been going down hill since the 70's.

  • ConservativeVoter Aug 23, 2013

    The key thing is that the current Democrat controlled school board needs to learn is that their job is to give our children a quality education.

    It is not to fix societies perceived ills through social engineering including the failed socio-economic diversity (race) based busing program.

  • babbleon1 Aug 23, 2013

    "Don't forget that several years ago the Democrat controlled state legislature ... moved the elections to odd years hoping to reduce the number of voters..." conservativevoter

    um the elections have been odd # yrs for the BOE since the '70s
    mmtlash

    Oh noes! Facts! For shame!

    Don't you know that actual facts are not allowed in this conversation? Only ideology and opinions!

  • babbleon1 Aug 23, 2013

    We need to let kids go to the school closest to home and then add resources if necessary to those schools not up to par. This manipulation for ideological and political reasons is counterproductive. foodstamptrader

    I definitely agree with this, but there are some practical considerations to work out. Tata published docs that show that if all kids go to the closest school, many will be over capacity. Moving kids to reduce overcrowding means people are upset about school reassignments. Building new schools in crowded areas takes time (3 - 5 years) and costs a lot of money.

    The Wake board is trying to balance many variables, and that's hard.

    The GOP, Art Pope and Bob Luddy make it harder because they want Wake Co public schools to fail and lose reputation, driving people to Luddy's Thales private schools.

    If you doubt me, follow the money. The 2009 election was won with Luddy / Pope money, and Margiotta used to be on the Thales board.

  • foodstamptrader Aug 23, 2013

    What a circus at Wake Board! Both sides jockeying for position to take over the board. Whoever is in power is attacked, sued, and protested relentlessly.

    Black vs white, Dem vs Repub, city vs county. Endless reassignments for social engineering reasons. Little concern for the actual education the kids are getting.

    We need to let kids go to the school closest to home and then add resources if necessary to those schools not up to par. This manipulation for ideological and political reasons is counterproductive.

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