Wake County Schools

Wake school board hears from public on redistricting

Posted May 9, 2011
Updated May 17, 2011

— The public had its first chance Tuesday evening to chime in on a plan to change the boundaries of voting districts for the Wake County Board of Education.

About two dozen people showed up and nine spoke at a public forum about a plan before the board to redraw district lines, several criticizing the board for what they called a lack of openness and also for not considering alternative maps submitted last month by two community groups.

Wake County Public School System Wake school board redistricting

The school system redraws the district map every 10 years based upon population and growth data from the U.S. Census. A new map is due by June 24 so that candidates can begin the campaign for the November election.

The filing period for school board candidates begins July 25.

Five of the board's nine seats are up for grabs this year – those of board Chairman Ron Margiotta and the four Democratic board members – Kevin Hill, Keith Sutton, Carolyn Morrison and Dr. Anne McLaurin – who have voted as a bloc in the past 18 months, challenging the board majority's controversial move to change the district's longstanding student assignment policy.

All but Morrison and McLaurin have said they plan to run again. Sutton and Morrison face election for the first time after being appointed to fill seats left vacant in 2009.

The school board contracted with the Shanahan Law Group in February year to draw a map in which districts would be approximately equal in population, minority representation would be increased, precincts would be kept intact and incumbents would be kept in the same district.

McLaurin said Tuesday she hopes the board will reconsider the planned changes to her district, District 5 in south central Raleigh.

"I am concerned about it, and I hope there will be discussion about it," she said. "It changes the core business of my district, which has primarily been downtown and magnet schools."

But John Tedesco, a Republican board member representing southeast Wake County (District 2), said the map is fair and that he doesn't plan on voting for any changes.

"My honest opinion is (that) by having outside legal council create the maps, as opposed to the board members, it allowed for a more fair process," Tedesco said.

Shanahan presented its map to the board at its last meeting. The board will meet next week for a work session on the proposal.

"If the board members want to sit out here tonight and say, 'Well, move this line or that line, my opinion would be that would be somewhat gerrymandering," Tesdesco said.

Each district population, he said, is now balanced within 1 percent of the other and making changes to one could cause a domino effect of problems.

Board members voted 7-1 in February on a resolution saying that the redistricting process be done in an "open, transparent and inclusive manner."

But the panel has been criticized by The League of Women Voters and Great Schools in Wake for a lack of openness in the process. Both groups unveiled proposed redistricting maps last month, but the board is not considering them.


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  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 10, 2011

    Rita MacLaren is the one who owns many many of the pay to park lots downtown along with other downtown real estate.

    She's not going to vote on anything that's not going to bring $$$ her way.

  • geosol May 10, 2011

    It really doesn't matter what the right wing activists who got put on the school board do with the Districts. Their agenda has been exposed and people are tired of the damage they are doing to our once exemplary education system. One and done and then we'll fix their messes permanently. I just hope it doesn't cost too much to recover from their damage.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas May 10, 2011

    Who is the lady with the really short butchy hair? Oh wait, is that the one who said so many different things to get elected and has voted the opposite several times since getting elected?

    I can't recall her name ...

  • djsull494 May 10, 2011

    The school district is too big - from SW in Cary to NE in Wake Forest. The school district should be cut in thirds or so ... THAT would provide better local representation.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 10, 2011

    Wonder when the public is going to wake up and realize the majority of these people they keep re-electing like MacLauren and Margiotti don't care what their opinions are.

  • scuse2 May 10, 2011

    Realthoughts....let's put a "n" in "balace" to spell "balance"!

  • Realthoughts May 10, 2011

    Hey, I have a solution, lets move a percentage of minorities to a "non-minority" community and then move a percentage or non-minorities to a "minority" community to balace voting. A lot like busing.

  • Mark Hayes May 10, 2011

    Why the residents of this area of North Carolina having a large population of college educated and professional people of all races and genders are not being more of a voice in this matter they are people who are leaders at their professions and should stand up to all this strong arm tactics of the NAACP members who for the most part do not even live in this area.

  • HopingForABetterWorld May 10, 2011

    Should we also get to vote for all members of Congress, even though we don't live in their state? Their mayors? Their town board members? No, we live in a democratic society where most positions are by regions...just like the school board.

  • Realthoughts May 10, 2011

    "It's time for this poorly written soap opera to be cancelled."

    This whole thing needs to be a episode on South Park. I'm sure Cartman could get to the bottom of it all this.