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Parents Want More Say Over Makeup of School Board

Posted March 5, 2008
Updated March 6, 2008

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— Parents frustrated by Wake County School Board policies say they want more say in choosing the decision-makers.

Town officials in Apex, Garner, Holly Springs and Cary all support at-large school board elections to replace the district representation used now. They said they plan to lobby lawmakers in the upcoming short session.

“I've had my kids redistricted. I've had one of my son's schools converted to mandatory year-round,” Cary parent Joe Ciulla said.

“School board members don't believe they're accountable to all citizens of Wake County. That can be changed in the way they're elected,” Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly said.

The school board has nine members. Voters select one member for their geographic district.

“Eighty-nine percent of the decision-making power is really in other board members' hands and we don't get the chance to vote, and we think that's fundamentally wrong,” Ciulla said.

Ciulla launched TakeOurSchoolsBack.org to petition lawmakers to change the school board to nine at-large seats.

Rep. Dan Blue, D-Wake County, opposes it.

"It just would not make sense to have all the individual school board members convince 900,000 people as to why they ought to vote for them,” Blue said.

Supporters point out that county commissioners are elected countywide.

“It will drive accountability to the entire county and not to individual districts,” Ciulla said.

A school board member with whom WRAL spoke with said at-large elections are not a cost-effective way to choose members.

Other opponents question whether at-large elections would violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by diluting minority influence.

38 Comments

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  • poohperson2000 Mar 7, 2008

    Steve,

    I never said that other have not given viable options. I was addressing and idividual in particular. It gets a little exausting to see "that's why my kid is not in public schools anymore". We all realize there are problems, and we applaud those that find a way out. But merely stating you are no longer attending WCPSS schools offers nothing to the conversation so to speak.

  • WakeHammer Mar 7, 2008

    The story that really needs to come out at some point is how this issue is a matter of squabbling between political parties. State legislative authority is required for us to have at-large elections for the Board of Education. The republican legislators from Wake County support such legislation, our democrats do not. Think about it... State reps we elected who are Dems do not support giving us all the right to vote for all districts. This is ugly partisan politics, and our children are the ones caught in the cross-fire.

    Parents unhappy with WCPSS is a story which has been told for a long time. I am hoping the story of politics at the expense of our children gets told.

  • Steve Crisp Mar 6, 2008

    To poohperson:

    Thousands of people have continually offered viable solutions to the problem with modern education and they are ignored. To recap some of them:

    1. Go to smaller, neighborhood public school systems where parents have more control.

    2. Allow vouchers for any private school attendence.

    3. Divide existing schools into academic, vocational, and "incorrigable" tracks.

    4. Remove special needs children from mainstreaming and give them appropriate educations that will actually help them.

    5. Encourage homeschooling.

    6. Refuse to instruct any student who is here illegally and amend the Consitution to eliminate the naturalization provision.

    7. Make English the official language of America and insist that every student communicate in proper English.

    8. Get back to actually educating our kids rather than using them for silly sociological experiments. If we are actaully creating an educated population then minor error in judgement by the school board will be overlooked.

  • RonnieR Mar 6, 2008

    If Blue is against it, it will never happen because of his personal influence in the GA and the policy that a local bill that doesn't have unanomous support of the local delegation never gets outta committee. The only exception would be if the
    Duke of Dare and the House Speaker want it passed.

  • G-Dawg Mar 6, 2008

    Parents do need more control of this, especially who is elected. The people making these decisions have nothing to do with these schools, it's all for forcing diversity.

  • wcnc Mar 6, 2008

    I seem to recall in recent years some news stories of the "privatization" of public education. Certain cities turned over their school systems to people who had run companies and the results were better test scores, more learning, less discipline issues and a decrease in spending!!! Also, some private companies/people had started "private" schools that were open to anyone for free and the same results. This shows that the way of running the schools now is not working and that there are other ways, but no one wants to try it.....

  • whatelseisnew Mar 6, 2008

    The solution is you shut down the entire public k5-12 system for at least two years. Prior to the shutdown you make arrangement to bring more private institutions and charter schools. Then you reopen the replacement schools.

  • poohperson2000 Mar 6, 2008

    Mike,

    You continue to profess how your kids will NEVER again be a part of this system. We understand your choice. Offer some insight on how to fix the problem, or just go away and be happy you'll never be a part of it, quit throwing it around instead of solutions to the problem.

  • poohperson2000 Mar 6, 2008

    To really decide if a new system will help, we need to know a few things. For example did Garner's rep run unapposed last time? If he did Garner needs to get off their rear and find a canidate. Is the rep for the Garner area representing their needs, or are they flowing with the rest of the board. Like all elected officials, most times you will not get what you vote for.

  • miketroll3572 Mar 6, 2008

    That is the point, you will never have to deal with my kids. I take care of that at home!

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