Local Politics

Tedesco wins seat on Wake County school board

Posted November 3, 2009
Updated November 4, 2009

— John Tedesco was elected Tuesday to the District 2 seat on the Wake County Board of Education. His win with more than 75 percent of the vote is expected to shake up school diversity policies.

Tedesco got 49 percent of the vote in the Oct. 6 election but needed to receive a majority to avoid a second election.

Contender Cathy Truitt, who then received 24 percent of the vote, asked for a runoff election, then later rescinded her request when she dropped out of the race.

However, she never officially withdrew, and the State Board of Election ruled that the county had to go through with the runoff.

Tedesco bests Truitt in school board runoff Tedesco beats Truitt in school board runoff

Tedesco's win Tuesday sets a new majority that could shift the school system's student assignment policy promoting socioeconomic diversity, where students are bussed to schools across the county to achieve a balanced makeup of students.

“We heard loud and clear across this county, people want to go to a neighborhood schools model,” Tedesco said Tuesday evening.

Tedesco and three other newly-elected school board members have indicated they want to change the policy in favor of neighborhood schools. One other sitting member of the board also supports a change.

Tedesco’s victory gives that faction a majority position on the nine-member board.

“I think we can come up with something better that respects the will of our parents, is fiscally accountable for our taxpayers, and keeps our children a little closer to home instead of on crazy bus rides," Tedesco said. "Instead of multiple reassignments, we know children need continuity."

Rev. William Barber, with the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, disagrees with Tedesco. Barber says moving back to a neighborhood school concept is essentially re-segregation, and will disproportionately hurt poor and minority students.

“If you engage in policies that desegregate and that undermine a quality education, you are again, in violation of your own constitution. That is illegal and we have to call it,” he said Tuesday evening.

Barber says the NAACP is considering legal action if the board moves forward with the plan to scrap the district's diversity policies.

"If we believe those policies are flawed, are unconstitutional, that run amok to the civil rights act of 1964, than we will stand," he said.

Tedesco and the other new board members – Chris Malone in District 1, Deborah Prickett in District 7 and Debra Goldman in District 9 – take office Dec. 1.


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  • affirmativediversity Nov 4, 2009

    "Barber says moving back to a neighborhood school concept is essentially re-segregation, and will disproportionately hurt poor and minority students"


    Where do these people live that they don't have neighbors of all races, religions and origins? I mean really, who lives in a "segregated" subdivision?

    When will Black Americans stop allowing themselves to be STEREOTYPED as "poor and under achieving" by dinosaurs like this alleged Reverend????????

  • arfamr1005 Nov 4, 2009

    it looks like Wake county is populating schools based on Affermative Action Laws. hopefully this will not be the case going forward...bussing kids all over the county HAS to be a HUGE expense...wonder if the old board ever posted the price of bussing, all they were worried about was numbers, not teh students

  • TheAdmiral Nov 4, 2009

    I think it is absolutely funny - one of the conversations I recently heard:

    Buyer: "So the house, where it is located, do they go to school there?"

    Agent: "No, while that is a national award winning school, the kids in your neighborhood go to the school in XXXXX, which has not won any awards."

    Buyer: "Then I am not going to buy the home. Take me to places where the kids go to the Award winning school."

    Since they were writing an offer on a house and this bit of information came out. I am wondering if alot of agents leave this information out - I know they leave the "Oh, and the Home owners Association is a strict fascist state here in the neighborhood."

    Mr. Rogers and his entire neighborhood should be turning in their grave.

  • NuGamma Nov 4, 2009

    As a teacher in WCPSS and the parent of a former WCPSS student I agree with and thank you. My daughter was bussed for grades 3-8 and like you, graduated at the very top of her class (Enloe). She also graduated from one of the top universities in the USA. (Summa Cum Laude).This isn't a new story, just a different book. Three schools here in Wake County were "topped off" of it's smartest Black students (academically gifted) and they were sent way across town,(15 miles) to a "neighborhood" school to meet at least two of their criteria.
    1. To bring up their test scores
    2. To bring up their minority rate
    So, I DO NOT want to hear this noise about DIVERSITY! I appeared before the school assignment committee and they told me, NO! As I see it, as long as it was fulfilling the needs of that "neighborhood" school it didn't matter about my little Black child. She had to be awaken at 5:00 AM in order to catch her bus! She was 7 yrs. old! I ask you, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

  • larieke Nov 4, 2009

    On November 7, 2006, Wake County voters decided to invest in a $1.056 billion capital improvement program of which $970 million is funded by a school bond that will provide for thousands of additional children moving into Wake County by 2010 and for much needed renovation of existing facilities.

    That money hasn't even been spent yet.

  • time4real Nov 4, 2009

    yes sir it's going to be difficult, thanks to previous people who were voted in by a lot less folks than voted the last 2 times. anyone who doesn't like the outcome can blame their neighbors for not caring enough to bother. I on the other hand, thank them 100%!

  • Garnerwolf1 Nov 4, 2009

    "the whiners who don't want to move" LOL. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were talking about those that didn't want to be bussed. Another pot calling the kettle black justification for your viewpoint. And folks, let's not get carried away here. It was 75% of approx 8,000 voters in District 2, not 75% of all voters in Wake Co. Sounds like this board's supporters want to push their way down our throats, while bashing the old board for doing the same thing. Community based is probably a better way to go than what the old boards were trying to do, especially since the old board didn't follow their own stated policy, but it's still going to be difficult, and not everyone is going to get what they want, no matter what.

  • ECU1995 Nov 4, 2009


    There is no crystal ball just common sense, an idea of the placement of current schools, and a very good understanding of the Wake County tax base.

    There is only so much money to go around and there are only so many current schools. And those schools are not situated across the county to enable their use in a neighborhood school fashion. You will have overcrowding in some schools & under use in others if you try to assign everyone to a school within 5 miles of their homes, which by definition are neighborhood schools.

    The solution to the problems will either be year round school, to maximize the classroom space, or build more schools. And in order to build more schools taxes will have to be raised and that will be a popular as ants at a picnic.

  • puryeardl Nov 4, 2009

    If the system is for the children, why is 64% of the money spent outside the classroom (busing, books, desks, lights, and teachers make up the other 36%)? I think they are using children for their benefit.

  • time4real Nov 4, 2009

    "Do you honestly think going to a year round schedule was done for the betterment of the educational process or to save the school system money?"

    wrong, it was pushed down our throats because a select few on the school board had an agenda and thought they ruled our lives. AND their strings were being pulled really hard by chuck and his gang of thugs! most schools have less in them now than before they were converted! if Perdue doesn't start doing a better job, instead of demanding her handouts, class size will continue to grow and that's just a fact. once the NEW board takes over and analyzes quickly the data to send kids back closer to home, determines options for the whiners who don't want to move and puts the pencil to the paper I assure you there will be big changes and they won't be far off! And apparently 75+% of wake county says bring it on!
    at least the ones who cared to vote!