School board's decision to drop out of association questioned

Posted June 21, 2010

Wake County Public School System
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— The Wake County Public School System will likely be the only district in the state that's not a member of a state organization that that provides lobbying and legal support.

The Board of Education last week voted 5-4 not to renew its membership with the North Carolina School Boards Association – a move that School Boards Association Executive Director says is "extremely rare."

"I am extremely disappointed in the action taken by the Wake County Board of Education. Hopefully they will reconsider," Dr. Ed Dunlap said Monday.

There are 115 school districts in the state and the group usually has 115 members. Effective July 1, the Wake school system will be the only non-member in the state.

Pulling out of the state organization means the school system will also lose its membership with the National School Board Association.

Board members who voted against the measure to renew cite cost for the move. Membership for both advocacy groups cost more than $40,000 annually.

"It was value-added and values. The combination of both did not meet our needs at this time," Board Member John Tedesco said Monday. "We have to be good stewards with people's tax dollars, and every $40,000 – it counts. That's one more teacher in the classroom."

Board critics and even some board members, however, have questioned the board's decision to turn down a proposal from the state School Boards Association to help conduct a search for a new superintendent. Instead, the board voted to contract with an international search firm for an estimated $82,500 plus expenses..

During the board’s discussion of the contract, Board member Carolyn Morrison called the NCSBA's bid a "more prudent" one that would have saved about $75,000, as well as travel costs – funding that could be used elsewhere to defray budget cuts.

The school system is facing at least a $20 million budget shortfall, and Dunlap said now is the time when it’s more important than ever for the board to keep its membership.

"This will leave the Wake School Board and district completely alone out there with no support," he said.

Wake school board member Keith Sutton agrees.

"I think it does sort of put us out there on an island," he said.

He was in favor of renewing the membership and says he is concerned about the board dropping itself from the association.

"I think it's well worth the money when you look at the benefits and the services they provide," Sutton said. "I think it's just a necessary cost of doing business."


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  • keneds Jun 23, 2010

    oops...something else for William Barber to holler about...yall better get ready

  • Mugu Jun 22, 2010

    These associations are nothing but a crock.

  • grimreaper Jun 22, 2010

    Well, the real question is really was Wake county school system getting any value out of this membership. The answer was probably no. Just being another member of something does not mean you are getting any real benefit. I doubt they made the decision without looking at tangible and intangible value.

    I like the fact they are looking for a superintendent that is not necessarily already a part of the existing union corrupted education "system".

  • localyank Jun 22, 2010

    gloriaholland - "5 independent thinkers"??! They vote en masse for every issue. They are very much the opposite of independent thinkers.

  • localyank Jun 22, 2010

    To claim that this is to save money is ludicrous, especially given the $15 million cost of the moving the high school to Rolesville. First they vote to remove the educator requirement for the new superintendent, then they withdraw from this association. The new board - or rather the people pulling their strings - don't like public instruction, period, and this is one more step toward privatizing it. Agree with it or not (and many do), I can't understand why people can't see this for what it is.

  • superk Jun 22, 2010

    KUDOs for the Wake County school board. Finally, we have some elected officials who seem to care about QUALITY and not politics. Keep up the good work!!!!

  • rand321 Jun 22, 2010

    The new school board getting rid of things they do not like and making claims its for a tight budget. We spend 15 to 20 million more to move a highschool. We hire a GOP consultant from CLT to train boardmembers to push for system supported vouchers and charter schools, we pay a GOP lawyer to review invoices, etc.

    then we pay more money after converting schools to year round to convert back to traditional. Some savings!!!!

    The school board is rushing ahead with new districting without a long range budget impacts of the decision and then wanting to ask more more money via a bond!

    The board and their rush to enact their agenda without proper cost studies is a detriment to the taxpayers.

  • superman Jun 22, 2010

    The school board association would have reviwed applications and weeded out individuals who were not qualified. They submit a list of viable candications. Certainly you dont think they would make any kind of selection! They may have several hundred applications and someone has to start the elimination process and the school board association could have done that. They be doing the same thing that be paying a consultant firm to do -- no difference-- except what it will cost. So Wake County is going to be the only non-member in the state. That should tell you people something about your board. Wonder if any of the other schools are experiencing budget problems. I guess not!!!!!

  • skeeter II Jun 22, 2010

    The decision to build the new high school in Rolesville saved money?

    How big a circle around that high school will cause kids to change schools when it is completed. I thought the policy was to have the kids attend the nearest COMMUNITY school? Wonder if the cost of busing was included in the decision-making?

    I don't think money is included in many of the decisions of the board.

    Oh, by the way, the entire county did not elect the 5 members who seem to be "wanting to have their way" on everything. Should be more research and discussion (at the meeting) before decisions are made.

  • gloriaholland Jun 22, 2010

    How scary to have 5 independent thinkers who evaluated a situation and made a decision that was not based on following the norm. These are the type of citizens that should lead and not those that just rubber stamp business as usual.