Wake County Schools

Losurdo, Hill refute outside claims, attacks

Posted November 4, 2011
Updated November 7, 2011

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— The two candidates still competing for a crucial seat on the Wake County Board of Education came out Friday against what they are calling false claims being spread about them in a runoff race in an election that's traditionally been quiet and nonpartisan.

A lot is at stake regarding the outcome of Tuesday's election, including the balance of the board's power for at least the next two years.

Democratic-backed candidates won four other seats that were up for grabs in the Oct. 11 election. Incumbent Kevin Hill, also a Democrat, finished first in the four-person race in District 3, but he was 51 votes shy of securing an outright victory.

If Hill wins, it could mean another four years before Republicans have a chance to regain control of the majority. Supporters of Republican challenger Heather Losurdo have vowed to do whatever is necessary to keep that from happening.

Campaigning since the election has been intense, and the emotions of supporters on both sides have been loud, with those outside the campaigns throwing allegations at each candidate.

"I think it's politics," Hill said during a taping for WRAL-TV's "On the Record," which airs Saturday at 7:30 p.m "I think there (have) been some exaggerations and misstatements made.

Losurdo has been a constant target by the outside liberal group Progress North Carolina Action, which has painted the former Air Force member and mother of two as "the Queen of Extreme" pushing tea party politics.

The latest claims by the group is that Losurdo "padded" her résumé by saying she was an account manager for First Union National Bank who oversaw a portfolio of more than $2 billion in small business loans.

The chairman of the Wake County Democratic Party also doubts Losurdo's claim.

"A personal bankruptcy, no formal higher education experience? It is very unlikely," Mack Paul said. 

Losurdo defends resume Losurdo defends résumé

Losurdo defended her résumé Friday at a taping for WRAL's "On the Record."

"I do say (the claims are) false, and I think there are those out there, including myself, who are offended by the accusation that 'somebody like me’ could not have that type of job," she said."It find it degrading, to be honest."

Her former boss at the bank, Donald Senior, said by phone Friday that the line on her résumé is 100 percent accurate.

"He has completely confirmed my employment, title and duties during the time I worked for him at First Union," Losurdo said at a news conference Friday evening. "I believe an apology from certain people would be to the honorable thing to do.

"For me, I consider the matter closed. Far too much time in this campaign has been spent on the question of my remote past and far too little on the real issues that divide me and my opponent in this race."

Hill had no comment Friday evening, saying only that he has run a clean campaign and that when he has been able to do so publicly, he has asked the third parties attacking Losurdo to back down.

"I have publicly, countless times on camera and on the radio asked the third parties to back away," he said earlier Friday during the "On the Record" taping.

A lifelong educator, Hill has also been accused of wanting to undo the board's work on a controversial assignment plan that replaces a longstanding busing policy for one that places students at schools closer to where they live.

He voted against the plan last month, he said, because it didn't guarantee seating in high-performing schools for students wanting to switch from traditionally low-performing schools.

"I caution people not to confuse the vote against the plan (with) me not being in favor of the plan," Hill said, when asked if he would move to overturn it.

"I'm on the record that I will not. In fact, I'm on the record stating that this is the plan that we will move forward with," Hill said. "I know the team that has put it together. I trust their integrity. The superintendent has worked very hard on this plan."

Political observers say the student assignment plan and the school board race drove turnout in the October election.

According to the Wake County Board of Elections, voter turnout – generally low in off-year elections – was 21.16 percent this year – more than double the turnout in 2009.

"It will be interesting to see how many people come out. If we have roughly the same number of people, it's Hill's to lose," North Carolina State University political science professor Andrew Taylor said of the Nov. 8 runoff.

"He's only 50 votes shy of the simple majority first time around, but it could well be that we might see a runoff that has more interest than the initial contest," Taylor added.

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  • babbleon Nov 8, 2011

    having their children forced to switch schools every year in support of a diversity policy that provides no educational benefit. westernwake1

    While I agree that reassignment is an issue that the pre-2009 board did not work to minimize, your reason for it is incorrect. The reassignments were due to GROWTH, and to the constant opening of new schools. Iirc, it's 5 new schools in the county each year for the last 10, and foreseen for the next 10.

    When we open the new schools under capacity (which is what the new plan does), it costs more per student - you have the same building (fixed) cost spread over fewer students. So, the pre-2009 board was minimizing costs by reassigning students. That was NOT a function of the 'diversity' busing.

    Don't mix the two, and be prepared for the increase in costs that the new plan will bring.

  • babbleon Nov 8, 2011

    End bussing now for whatever the reason: Racial Diversity, Socio-Economic Diversity, Wasting Diesel Fuel. flashsparks

    In 2009, before the current board was elected, 86% of students assigned to schools went to ones within 5 miles of their home. 99% of assigned students went to ones within 10 miles.

    Busing is primarily a function of parental choice. Which the new plan gives a HIGHER priority. Focus on the real issues: constant reassignments, equality of opportunity and cost.

  • mhamilton23 Nov 7, 2011

    I want to know why people are not worried that casting a vote for Losurdo is also casting a vote for John Tedesco to be the chairperson of the school board. That should be a concern for all wake county parents!

  • 5Rs Nov 7, 2011

    "HOW on earth do you come up with your post when in fact the Wake County School System has been recognized as one of the best in the state, if not in the nation? " - bigAl02282

    Recognized by the decidedly left-leaning education industry in spite of poor graduation rates of minorities, in spite of misplaced focus. Putting the focus back on the 5 R's would make for substantial improvement.

    Remember, the left rewards its own, as in Obama receiving the Peace Prize, probably the biggest joke of that year.

  • westernwake1 Nov 4, 2011

    Thanks to Research Triangle Park, Wake County has one the largest percentages of college educated parents. Most of the these parents have moved to Wake County over the past 40 years from areas in the country with excellent public schools and expect Wake County to provide similar educational opportunities.

    A good number of these parents come from places with the top 100 public school systems in the U.S. The Wake County school system has been successful because these parents are focused on their children’s' success. Despite this - statistically Wake County public schools is only mediocre when viewed from a national perspective.

    Bussing for diversity has hindered rather than helped education in Wake County.

  • westernwake1 Nov 4, 2011

    "HOW on earth do you come up with your post when in fact the Wake County School System has been recognized as one of the best in the state, if not in the nation?" - bigal02282

    The Wake County school system has been successful despite the diversity policy - not because of the diversity policy. The overall demographics of the county have made the school system "successful".

  • bigal02282 Nov 4, 2011

    slappy, HOW on earth do you come up with your post when in fact the Wake County School System has been recognized as one of the best in the state, if not in the nation? Your opinion is strictly one of politics and bigotry, which in no way makes the system any better.

  • bigal02282 Nov 4, 2011

    It would be nice for once if all of these "busing experts" here actually knew what they were talking about rather than making generalizations, guesses, supposition and outright lies. Now, concentrate on the things of which you ARE an expert. Like why you don't want a child getting an education with others who do not share their same ethnicity or religion.

  • slappywhite Nov 4, 2011

    busing for "DIVERSITY" = a complete failure

  • Remy Nov 4, 2011

    "SamS and so is F&RL..."
    harmstrong4

    Simply a benefit of diversity busing, but not the intent.

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