Local Politics

Little Change on Wake School Board

Posted October 9, 2007

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— Despite public outcry over the way the Wake County school system has handled enrollment growth in recent years, the school board that takes office in the coming weeks will feature little change.

Incumbent school board member Beverley Clark won one of only two contested races Tuesday, and former teacher and principal Kevin Hill and school volunteer Martha LaVance will face a November runoff in the other.

Clark grabbed 64 percent of the vote to retain her District 6 seat on the board, representing north Raleigh. Sean O'Brien finished second, with 26 percent of the vote, followed by Ed Armogida and John Zal, with 6 and 4 percent, respectively.

Hill, who worked in Wake County schools for 30 years before moving to North Carolina State University last year, grabbed 46 percent of the vote for the District 3 seat in northwest Wake County that had been held by Carol Parker. Parker didn't seek re-election.

LaVance, a retired attorney and businesswoman, finished with 30 percent of the vote in District 3, forcing the runoff. Alfreda Wilson, the third person in the race, wound up with 23 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill ran unopposed for her District 4 seat representing east Raleigh, and board member Ron Margiotta faced no opposition in District 8 in southwest Wake County.

Anne McLaurin, the wife of Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, ran unopposed in District 5, which represents south-central Raleigh and won the seat formerly held by Susan Parry. Parry didn't seek re-election.

To deal with surging enrollments, the school district has adopted an extensive building program, which entailed massive reassignments to fill new schools. The district this fall converted 22 elementary and middle schools from traditional calendars to year-round schedules to create extra seats for students. Both moves angered hundreds of parents and brought calls for change.


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  • Not_So_Dumb Oct 10, 2007

    Actually, you can only vote in your district. Therefore the people who can affect me I cannot affect.

  • common_sense_plz Oct 10, 2007

    ever thought that these who were running were not the ones people wanted to replace.

  • OpinionatedGuy Oct 10, 2007

    For everyone that complained about the school board last semister... Yesterday was your chance to make a change, by voting for new school board members... but instead, you kept the incombents... Not another word...

  • nisa-pizza Oct 10, 2007

    Growth is fantastic as long as you take EVERYTHING that comes with it into account. Even without the drought we still should have been concerned with our water situation because of the tide of people swarming to the area.

    But I don't think the little things like that are registering with the powers that be.

    The MONEY is registering, but the responsibility of taking care of the population that BRINGS THE MONEY WITH THEM and all their needs isn't always registering.

    With all the notoriety that comes with "the best place to live" status comes the responsibility to being worthy of it and living up to the title. In this respect, among others we're not worthy.

  • Not_So_Dumb Oct 10, 2007

    Since this is the largest district in the state and the previous holder of that title has already moved towards it, can we please cut things down to size?

  • nisa-pizza Oct 10, 2007

    Facts are that there are almost 150 schools in Wake Co. many of which are hundreds (100-300) over capacity and it's still not keeping pace with the growth rate. Avg. H.S. cap 1800. One school can cost millions to build and maintain. Thousands of children coming into the area over a few months time. Books, computers, fixtures, power bills etc. Add up your bills and mult. by at least a hundred.

    This is or will be very soon the largest school district in the state. At the rate of thousands every few months where are these children going to go? No one wants re assignment, no one wants kids in the restrooms, but it's all happening because of poor planning.

    If the powers that be allow huge cluster of subdivisions to be built then they have to allow for water, sewage, traffic, new roads and somewhere on that list (LOCAL SCHOOLS) so things like this don't keep happening. Now w/o reassigment some schools are a little below capacity while others are bursting at the seams.

  • Not_So_Dumb Oct 10, 2007

    Yes, tens of millions of dollars. They have a $62 million reserve, I believe. Enough to build three elementary schools. Do they do that when they have a capacity crisis.

  • nisa-pizza Oct 10, 2007


    TENS of millions of dollars???

    At the rate of growth in this area w/ the influx of thousands of kids over a few months time, what exactly will that amount accomplish?

    It can take millions to build 1 school. We're in desperate need of more than just a 1 or 2 schools because of overcrowding and other expenses which can run in the millions alone. The school board needs to get more money to work with because of the out of control growth to support these kids flooding the area. Honestly, the people who are moving here DO BRING CHILDREN WITH THEM. They need more funds than they're getting. Reassigning kids alone won't help this situation.

    If the commissioners allow growth to get out of control w/o taking into account the kids coming in then they need to be willing to loosen those purse strings some to give the school board something to work with so kids aren't using restrooms as classrooms.

    Poor planning. You don't see that fact in MONEY MAGAZINE, do you?

  • nisa-pizza Oct 10, 2007

    The next time the same school board issues rise up (and they will) I sure hope those people who were crying for all this drastic change don't say a thing. They had their chance to make these sweeping changes they've been crying about and evidently didn't bother to show up to vote against the very members they were so angry about.

  • carlostheass Oct 10, 2007

    hondaman, look again. Wake County Public Schools has a higher fund balance (savings) than most school systems in the country. Rather than spend their tens of millions of dollars, they try to extort more out of the commissioners by running bad press. If they needed more money to do some of these things, why aren't they tapping into their own funds? And, why aren't they downsizing their woefully top-heavy administrative structure to save dollars that could go directly to classrooms? Let's don't blame others when they have failed to use the resources they already have.