Local Politics

Wake School Board Candidates Face Off

Posted October 4, 2007

— On the topics of year-round schools and controversial land deals, Wake schools have been in the hot seat.

Despite the attention, there's a lack of interest in running for school board. Three of the five open school board seats have only one candidate.

In Northern Wake and Central Raleigh, there will be a race next Tuesday. District 3 has three candidates. District 6 has four.

On Thursday, those candidates sat down with WRAL's Kelcey Carlson for a debate.

A failed land deal for a new school in Rolesville sparked a debate in the District 6 race for Wake School Board.

“When we chose the site in Rolesville, it was because it was the most build-able site and the total cost of the project would end up being less,” said Beverley Clark, an incumbent board member running for district 6.

Clark defended the $3.5 million deal even though it appraised for less. Commissioners didn't endorse the full offer and the seller turned it down.

On Tuesday, Clark faces three opponents.

“The school board didn’t do its homework up front, and if they had, it wouldn’t have come down to this and would’ve gotten a better price,” said district 6 candidate Sean O’Brien.

Issues of trust, communication and image got O'Brien, Ed Armogida and John Zal talking.

“There’s so much negativity and negative press,” Armogida said.

“I think we need to connect more with parents,” Zal said.

In District 3, there is no incumbent. The three candidates agree on many issues, but busing students sparked some debate.

“I support busing when it’s a parent’s choice,” said candidate Alfreda Wilson.

Kevin Hill and Martha LaVance said they believe the current busing strategy is necessary to avoid high concentrations of poverty.

“If enrollment is dropping and there are socio-economic issues arising, we need to look at that school,” LaVance said.

“I strongly think the health and vibrancy of a community is linked to the health of a school system,” Hill said.

The future of the school system hinges on many controversial issues. If elected, sky rocketing enrollment, academic achievement and image will be on their plate.


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  • Grant Holley Oct 6, 2007

    AwakeMom, I have asked our State School Board to do just that....see the difference in the schools, see the discrepancies, see that the tests are running the schools, just go SEE....so far none have taken me up on it. They still go into a school with trumpets blaring and fanfare and then wonder why they never see the "dirty laundry".

  • Grant Holley Oct 6, 2007

    "You will never win".....I hate to say it, but I think you are correct. They have lost faith, as an educator of educators myself I face every day wondering how I can keep sending people out to work against insurmountable odds...I guess there is either enough stubbornness or optimism still left in me that I just can’t give up on the students….lost faith or not.

  • AWakeMom Oct 5, 2007

    Regardless of who runs, who wins, and who becomes the "public servant" - I propose this -- Go to one of the low income schools, the ones that have high free and reduced lunch, several Title I's, and where the minorities are the majority and see what really goes in in that school. I mean really see it. Don't announce your arrival, just show up -- you will be shocked. Then take your seat, and make a difference.

  • scal Oct 5, 2007

    "......show that we care how the schools are being run..."


    I don't think it's that people don't care, it's that people have lost faith in the system. Their voices are never heard.

  • Grant Holley Oct 5, 2007

    Please take a look at District 3, I know Kevin Hill and just how dedicated he is to the schools and our students. He is by far the most qualified candidate. No matter what, go out and vote. Show that there is not a lack of interest....show that we care how the schools are being run.

  • scal Oct 4, 2007

    "... there's a lack of interest in running for school board. Three of the five open school board seats have only one candidate..."

    And the sad thing is that we as a community continue to talk about how bad things are to make oursleves feel better.