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Wake debates at-large school board seats

Posted April 24, 2008
Updated April 29, 2008

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— Five towns and the county board of commissioners are pushing for the creation of at-large school board seats, despite some protest that the status quo is working.

Currently, each school board member if elected from one of nine districts. Backers of at-large seats have floated various plans, but all want county-wide election of at least some members.

They argue that having all board members representing only one area doesn’t make sense.

“What happens in Wake Forest affects Holly Springs. What happens in Holly Springs affects Wake Forest. Then why not have the school board elected from the standpoint of regionalism?” said Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears.

Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, Garner and Rolesville want to see the creation of at-large seats on the board. County commissioners are also on board with the idea. How it would work remains unclear, however. One idea is to have four at-large seats.

“I’d like to see us all get together,” Sears said.

There is some opposition to the idea. Wake Forest, Zebulon, Morrisville and Wendell think it’s better to leave the school board elections alone. They have expressed concern that the at-large seats wouldn’t adequately represent everyone.

Neither Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina nor Knightdale has taken a formal position on the subject.

“We will be voting on this at, probably, our next meeting. The sense that I get is that we will continue to support the status quo,” said Raleigh City Council member Mary-Ann Baldwin.

Baldwin said an at-large system could limit who could run for the school board.

Some leaders are worried about what the cost of those campaigns could mean for equal representation. Others worry it could hurt their communities.

“It would devastate the southeast Raleigh community as far as fair representation on the school board is concerned,” said Bruce Lightner of the Southeast Raleigh Leader.

State lawmakers would have to approve any changes.

9 Comments

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  • whatelseisnew Apr 25, 2008

    I agree say no to more Bond debt. I have voted against every school bond, because the system just keeps getting worse and worse.

  • NE Raleigh Apr 25, 2008

    We should give at-large seats in all districts a try. It should be obvious what's in place now really isn't close toworking. Any and all change would be welcome, let the taxpayers control the schools, afterall, we pay for it.

  • RonnieR Apr 25, 2008

    I would think doing it like the County Commissioners do would be fine. The candidatge must live in the district represented,
    but elected by the whole county. I can't see why anyone, except the incumbents, who with one exception, RM, would loose their seats.

  • happymom Apr 25, 2008

    It's about time!

  • Garnerwolf1 Apr 25, 2008

    Somebody explain to me why certain towns, and SE Raleigh, would oppose this. I'm looking a serious explanation, not a rant.

  • bs101fly Apr 25, 2008

    the reason there are SO many problems with the wcpss is because YOU PEOPLE keep handing them yes votes EVERY TIME a bond comes up. WAKE UP and VOTE NO to the next school bond and send the REAL message you are fed up with the lies, stealing, scams, reassignments and WASTE of YOUR money!!!!!

  • Timbo Apr 25, 2008

    If "the status quo is working", how come there are so many problems with the way WCPSS does business (oops, lost $600K) and treats Wake County citizens? I think it's a done deal busing doesn't work... ?

    Any politician that thinks that has their head in the sand and hopefully will be voted out of office.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 25, 2008

    Every seat on the school board should be based on a county wide vote.

  • twbuckner Apr 24, 2008

    Why don't we have at-large representation in the state legislature so that those of us in the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte areas can cram our ideas down to the under-represented rural districts?