Wake school board sends off departing members
Posted November 22, 2011
Cary, N.C. — There was an amicable, nostalgic air at the Wake County school board meeting in Cary Tuesday as departing board Chairman Ron Margiotta and members Dr. Anne McLaurin and Carolyn Morrison said goodbye.
New members Susan Evans, Jim Martin and Christine Kushner – all Democrats – will be sworn in Dec. 6, shifting the balance of power on the board from a Republican to a Democratic majority.
Tensions on the board ran high at times, especially in the last two years, when the Republican majority voted to overturn a decade-long, nationally recognized student assignment policy that bused students to help maintain socio-economic diversity in all schools.
The decision sparked heated debate among board members and controversy in the community.
"The last four years are not what I had in mind for how things were going to go," McLaurin said.
Still, members exchanged messages of thanks and appreciation to each other for their service.
"The public doesn't realize how much we respect each other," Vice Chairman John Tedesco said.
Margiotta, who spent 8 years on the board, said he is proud of what the board has accomplished in that time, particularly in hiring Superintendent Tony Tata and developing a new student assignment plan focused on parental choice.
"I believe our discussions, some more heated than others, exposed inequities in our school system," he said.
But he expects the assignment plan he helped develop to endure after he's gone.
"I can't see major changes coming," he said.
Susan Evans, who defeated Margiotta in October for the District 8 seat serving southern Wake County, said that while the new board plans to take a hard look at student assignment, she didn't expect to make "big, immediate changes."
Democrats Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton won re-election to keep their board seats, and McLaurin and Morrison did not seek re-election.