Wake boards want to change public perception

Posted January 20, 2010
Updated January 21, 2010

— Wake County commissioners and school board members say they want to change the public perception that they don't get along.

In the past, the relationship between the two entities has been viewed by some as volatile, with public battles over the school board's budget and, most recently, concerns about overspending on a new high school for the Rolesville area.

Tony Gurley and Ron Margiotta Wake boards want to change public perception

The two elected bodies reached a low in 2008 when the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce held a news conference to say bickering is not good for business or education.

The boards met Wednesday to discuss plans for the new high school, tentatively called Forest Ridge High School, including where to build it. The school system has looked at about 40 sites for the school, which has been delayed nearly two years.

There was no final decision, but members of both boards said after the two-hour meeting that they are pleased with the day's talks and progress on the matter.

"This is critical," school board member John Tedesco said. "This is the two leading bodies that steer the direction of this county and our future together, and I think what you've seen today is the start of something – two boards that have gone from being contentious to now being cooperative."

Wednesday's meeting was the first of the two boards under new leadership.

Commissioner Tony Gurley, a Republican, was elected chairman late last year, and Ron Margiotta took over as school board chair in December.

Margiotta and four newly elected school board members – they were all backed in part by the Wake County Republican Party – share similar ideas about the school system with Gurley, particularly on the issue of ending mandatory year-round school assignments.

Gurley has stated that year-round schools should be a choice parents are allowed to make.

"I certainly have made it clear that I want to cooperate with the school board," Gurley said. "I look forward to this year – working together."

"I think we're going to have a good relationship," Margiotta said. "I think the commitment was made by Chairman Gurley and myself. We want to make sure we have that relationship, certainly at least through the budget process, and once we get there, it will continue."

There's still some potential for division, however. Democrats hold a majority on the Board of Commissioners. Also, newly elected school board member Debra Goldman on Tuesday split from the board majority to support a revised resolution on mandatory year-round calendars.


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  • jrgleason2003 Jan 21, 2010

    Since we're throwing out random stats. Children that learn with a lamp turned on in the room during instructional hours are 35% more likely to pass their EOG/EOC. :)

  • time4real Jan 21, 2010

    "Actually, studies have consistently shown that they do work,"
    Actually, you're wrong! 80%+ of those who have tried forcing people into year round, reversed course after they figured out how much money they wasted!

  • clayt85 Jan 21, 2010

    "proving the axiom that you can't reason with liberals"--timothycapwell

    As opposed to your comments, which follow completely within the dictates of reason....

    "[MYR schools] Proven not to work..."--theAdmiral

    Actually, studies have consistently shown that they do work, both for student retention (because of the absence of the long summer break) and for saving money/space.

    Is everyone else excited that partisan politics has made its way down to the local level? Because clearly that's a great way to get things done....

  • luvbailey Jan 21, 2010

    While it's nice to hear Margiotta and Gurley singing Kum-Ba-Ya, don't get overly excited. It's only because the partisanship has been diluted with a repub school bd majority, and a repub chair of the commissioners. Since the dems still hold the majority on the commissioners we may see some fireworks there, but in the end Margiotta will be determined to hold or reduce funding from the commissioners at current levels, seeking to "cut waste" instead (whatever that means).

  • Road-wearier Jan 21, 2010

    I'd rather they NOT get along. When they all play well together taxpayers get the increased bills.

    And can't you guys comment on ANYTHING without slinging conservative/liberal whining into it? Please? Turn off Limbaugh, turn off Olberman and dare to think for yourself!

  • time4real Jan 21, 2010

    "why WRAL"

    2 words,

    Jim Goodman!

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Jan 21, 2010

    "they were all backed in part by the Wake County Republican Party"

    WHY is this always mentioned in the same breath when mentioning the new school board members?

    NO OTHER local media seems to feel the need to mention it....why WRAL?

  • time4real Jan 20, 2010

    "Propose to hire a new lawyer"
    it's not a proposal, they did it! Good for them and us!

    as for tax payers not having a voice and not being served, i'm not served every time you use a service that I pay for with MY taxes without asking me first! get over the "i'm a tax payer too groaning" no one is listening!

  • archmaker Jan 20, 2010

    i think the new school board and the commissioners will work well together because they act the same: the school board forces new agenda items on at the last minute and the commissioners force a vote for the new chair once a potential chair goes out for a pee break.

  • 5-113 FA Retired Jan 20, 2010

    Too many Charlotte wanna-be pretend big-timers playing tug-of-war with the education system.

    Heaven forbid the actually focus on providing our students with a quality education!