Local Politics

New Wake school board members sworn-in

Posted December 1, 2009
Updated December 2, 2009

Wake County Public School System

— Four newly elected members of the Wake County Board of Education were sworn in Tuesday afternoon and began carrying out their promise to help change to the county's controversial student reassignment program.

New Wake school board members want change New Wake school board members want change

The new members – Debra Goldman, Chris Malone, Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco – gained endorsements from community groups, including WakeCARES and the Wake Schools Community Alliance, for their willingness to move away from the district’s busing for diversity policies in favor of neighborhood schools.

"We heard your calls for reform, you carried the day. Thank you,” Malone said following the swearing-in ceremony.

"I think all the newly elected board members are very like-minded, and I think we will do a good job together. We make a good team,” Prickett said.

The school system's policy is to have no more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches at any school. Students are reassigned each year to maintain that level of socioeconomic diversity, as well as to fill new schools and relieve overcrowding.

Outgoing board member Eleanor Goettee, who supports the diversity policy, said most recent reassignments have been driven by growth, not diversity. Growth will also make the new school board members' promise of neighborhood schools hard to fulfill, she said.

"It's impossible in some of these really dense neighborhoods for all those children to go to the 'neighborhood school,'" Goettee said during an interview Sunday. "In fact, the new board is going to have a difficult time determining how you define a neighborhood school."

In the election, support for the student assignment policies came from the North Carolina Association of Educators and the Friends of Diversity, a group newly formed by local political and business leaders that made a last-ditch campaign.

Supporters argued that reversing current policies would hurt the school system's future, and the Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, said it would essentially re-segregate schools.

“Absolutely not, nobody wants that to happen. I don't think it could happen in Wake County,” Goldman said.

Goldman argued that the county is “inherently diverse,” and as a result, reverting to segregated schools is no longer possible.

School board member Keith Sutton said newly elected members will need to take time to become familiar with the school district before making big changes.

Sutton was appointed to the school board in August. He supports the Wake County Public School System's current assignment system and said he's concerned about the potential consequences of dropping the busing policies.

"I do think it would have a severe or significant impact on what we currently do in terms of maintaining those diversity policies,” he said.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 2, 2009

    It's great. We now have a school board that will listen to the voters instead trying to impose a liberal utopian agenda of socio-economic diversity based busing on the voters of Wake County.

  • webberx101 Dec 2, 2009

    Busing hurts families, steals time, wastes money, endangers children, and pads pockets... Pray they abolish it!

  • hurricanesfan66 Dec 1, 2009

    Alright new BOE members--you own it. All 'faults' with the system that occur now are on your watch. We'll see if you can make this a better system.

  • flashyswife Dec 1, 2009

    I copy everything that TIME4REAL said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!It is a GREAT day in WC.
    Yeah WRAL....what's up with all the negative press...where are the interviews for the new people?

  • ICTrue Dec 1, 2009

    Diversity busing, diversity busing, diversity busing! That's what everyone was complaining about and the reason that you are now history Mrs Goettee...Obviously, every child in Wake county will not have a school in their own neighborhood. Wow, it's scary that you were ever in charge of anything. Let's hope (and try to ensure) that never happens again.

  • time4real Dec 1, 2009

    the change is starting this evening folks! Go boys and girls! If Keith Sutton wants to cry hand him a tissue! He's a 1 term dude anyway and lucky he got that. Kevin Hill got kicked to the curb and early Wednesdays is gone, Forest Ridge is gone and mandated year round is next! Hey, you gotta cut 20 mill from somewhere so why not start dunking the bull on day one! This is a great day wake county!

  • time4real Dec 1, 2009

    if you hadn't so blindly bowed to Cathy truitt you might not be so confused! I don't need to move now, my guy got elected. :c )

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 1, 2009

    Garnerwolf1, this is an unfortunate situation.

    The exiting school board annoyed the public so much that the public is of the opinion that any change of the school board is a good thing.

    The exiting school board pushed too hard with MYR, Wacky Wednesday, and a host of other issues.

    As one of the exiting school board members has said, "we finally pushed them too hard" with them being the voting public.

    Hopefully we don't get the kind of change from the school board that our Socialist President Obama is giving us.

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 1, 2009

    Somewhat ironic that the poster spouting MOVE! didn't take his own advice when the "evil" (his words not mine) former school board was in power. I wish the new Board all the best but suspect their reality will be much different than campaign rhetoric. They've already admitted some schools will be hurt, and by extension more money will be needed going into a year in which the budget will be cut. It's not going to be as simple as some simple-mindeds believe.

  • time4real Dec 1, 2009

    WEE Hooo, it's official, that mean ole Patti Head and Lori Millberg and no brain Horace Tart are history! Now we can end busing, the failed mandated year round, diversity agendas and spam for lunch! The next 4 years are going to be great years for parents! Those who don't think so, MOVE!