Wake County Schools

Wake voters could decide every school board race

Posted January 18, 2011

Wake County Public School System
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— Wake County commissioners said Tuesday that they plan to ask state lawmakers to adjust the way Wake County Board of Education members are elected so that voters can cast ballots in every school board race.

The issue of at-large school board elections has been debated for years but never went anywhere. The political dynamics that have engulfed the school board over the past year have rekindled the argument.

Republican Commissioner Tony Gurley said Tuesday that he has proposed a hybrid system for the school board that would include both district and at-large seats, similar to the way the Raleigh City Council is organized.

"(It's) a way that would benefit the entire county as opposed to just the district," Gurley said.

He and fellow county commissioners already are voted on by the entire county, although they live in specific districts.

"I'm accountable to all the people in Wake County because they all had an opportunity to vote for me," Commissioner Betty Lou Ward said.

The school board hasn't taken a position on a possible change, but Chairman Ron Margiotta said that he supports a countywide vote.

Critics have warned that countywide races would mean more expensive campaigns for school board, which could invite more special interests. Also, some parents demand having a board member who personally knows their schools and neighborhoods.

Parent Jean Geratz, who said she's no fan of the current school board, argues that a countywide vote would empower her at the polls.

Wake County school board district map Wake voters could decide every school board race

"We had no voice in the last election – none at all. We had no ability to have an impact on our school board," Geratz said.

Four of the nine school board members were elected in November 2009, creating a new majority that has changed several school district policies, including how students are assigned to schools.

The remaining five members of the school board are up for election this November.

"We're a whole county. The whole county should vote," Geratz said.

"A person in the district would know something about the area, but I guess, if you're looking at the whole thing as a whole, I guess general ideas would be put in from everywhere," parent Melesha Roberson said.

Gurley said that he pushed the at-large school board proposal years ago, but many Democrats blocked the idea.

"Now, a lot of the Democrats are not happy with the current school board, so they're looking at this in a little different light," he said. "It was a good idea four years ago. It's a good idea now."

32 Comments

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  • Dark of the Moon Jan 20, 2011

    Fellow right to neighborhood schoolers, you need to go to the City Data Forum to stand up for the right for our children to go to school in our own neighborhoods.

    Enough of this busing. Stand up against the liberal left.

    http://www.city-data.com/forum/raleigh-durham-chapel-hill-cary/1176000-poll-wake-county-school-board-doing.html

    Be ready to be pounced on over there, because the forum is FULL of left wing extremists.

    Charlton Dude

  • Dark of the Moon Jan 20, 2011

    seems Charlton has a problem with reading comprehension! Hey Charlton, the Gentleman that requested this is a REPUBLICAN!

    LambeauSouth

    ^^^^^^

    You need to re-read what I actually wrote and what is quoted in the article, along with paying attention to what the left has been saying since they lost the board seats.

    The left has been doing nothing but crying about not being able to vote, when in fact they vote just the same through the COMPLETE cycle. They were AGAINST a similar proposal UNTIL it did not work out for them, now they want a change.

    Changing the rules when it benefits them is the liberal game.

    If the new "hybrid" plan will guarantee Fuquay has a representative from the country and NOT from the city, then I will be okay with it. What I don't want is all city types representing us in the country. We do not share the same ideology as liberal city dwellers, so why on earth would we want them to represent US? City dwellers can represent city folk and country for country.

  • rlee1117 Jan 20, 2011

    I THINK IT SHOULD BE A LAW ON THE BOOKS THAT KEEPS THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE HOLDING UP THE WISHES WHICH WAS ASKED FOR BY THEIR VOTING AT ELECTIONS TO BE PUT IN PLACE!! CAN WE AS A PEOPLE THAT CAN'T HAVE IT THEIR WAY IN EVERYTHING DESTORY WHAT THE VOTERS HAVE ASKED FOR BY WINNING THE ELECTIONS! IT A SHAME PEOPLE ACT LIKE KIDS BY BEING SORE LOSERS!! GROW UP GIVE CHANGE A CHANCE LIKE WE DO WITH EVERY OTHER CHANGE WE FACE IN LIFE. GO LOOK IN A MIRROR AND SEE YOUR GROWN UP NOW NOT A KID!

  • LambeauSouth Jan 19, 2011

    I am sick and tired of liberals complaining they did not have a chance to vote and that was unfair. WAKE UP. Not all seats are up at the same time. They are staggered and when the cycle is done ALL people get to vote and it is even. It is completely fair and works the same for EVERYONE.

    I don't want some liberal city slicker YAHOO being the person to represent us country folks in Fuquay. If we wanted anything to do with the city, we would have moved there. We don't and we didn't.

    Liberal = LIARS

    Charlton Dude

    seems Charlton has a problem with reading comprehension!
    Hey Charlton, the Gentleman that requested this is a REPUBLICAN!

  • Bobber Jan 19, 2011

    I've never understood why our two county-wide elected bodies (County Commission and Board of Education) are elected in such different ways in the first place. They have different numbers of districts (7 vs. 9) and different electoral methods (countywide vs. district-only).

    Let's cut the school board down to 7 members and make it use the same districts already in use for the county comissioners. Stagger the elections so that a voter in a given district votes for a county commissioner in one election and a school board member two years later, or vice versa. Pick just one electoral method (county-wide voting for candidates who must be residents of the district they want to represent vs. district-wide voting) and use that for both bodies. Reduce the confusion and make it easier for voters to understand who represents them in each forum.

  • seriously1973 Jan 19, 2011

    Gurley said that he pushed the at-large school board proposal years ago, but many Democrats blocked the idea.

    "Now, a lot of the Democrats are not happy with the current school board, so they're looking at this in a little different light," he said. "It was a good idea four years ago. It's a good idea now."

    Just more proof that the democrats want to have the cake and eat it, too.

  • chfdcpt Jan 19, 2011

    By going to an at large system, that means that Raleigh and Cary can tell the rest of the county what will be done. After all, most of the county population is there.

    Like when I was living in Orange County, the majority of the population and voters are in Chapel Hill. That means that the folks in the rural north do not get any representation.

  • Dark of the Moon Jan 19, 2011

    I am sick and tired of liberals complaining they did not have a chance to vote and that was unfair. WAKE UP. Not all seats are up at the same time. They are staggered and when the cycle is done ALL people get to vote and it is even. It is completely fair and works the same for EVERYONE.

    I don't want some liberal city slicker YAHOO being the person to represent us country folks in Fuquay. If we wanted anything to do with the city, we would have moved there. We don't and we didn't.

    Liberal = LIARS

    Charlton Dude

  • I Change This Name Daily Jan 19, 2011

    if margiotta can get a free biscuit countywide this here deal's a no brainer

  • frosty Jan 19, 2011

    Why not save time and have the Mayor declare martial law and take over the schools from the people elected by unhappy parents. WRAL and the N&O will not mind.

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