Parents want Wake school buildings to remain under board's control

Posted March 25, 2013

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County legislative delegation got an earful Monday afternoon from concerned parents and former Board of Education members over legislation that would change how the school board operates.

Filed by Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, Senate Bill 236 would give ownership and control of Wake County school buildings to the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

Currently, the Wake County Board of Education has ownership and oversight.

Parent Lynn Edmonds said the school board needs to maintain ownership and control of school buildings because it has the experience necessary to build as many as 25 schools needed in the county over the next decade.

“The school board knows better what teachers needs in their schools,” she said. “The school board has experience building schools, and the facilities department has vast knowledge in maintaining them. School programming is directly related to the space where teachers teach and students learn.”

Greg Flynn, a parent who said he formerly reviewed school plans for the tate Department of Public Instruction, said the people he worked with in Wake County were some of the more competent in the state.

“They were proactive in avoiding delays, and despite the size of their projects, they were largely error free,” he said. “Good school buildings are like finely tuned instruments. Our best schools do not supply just a collection of rooms and corridors.”

Two former Wake County Board of Education members spoke out against the change in control, both citing a partisan split on the board that has impacted voting on many recent issues, most notably student assignment.

Commission Chairman Joe Bryan said that county funds go to pay for the buildings, so Wake commissioners should have oversight of how they are managed and used. Wake lawmakers hear from public on Dix, school board Wake lawmakers hear from public on Dix, school board

Wake school board Chairman Keith Sutton opposes the measure, having said recently that the school board has more experience than county commissioners at managing schools.

"We think we do the best job at doing that," Sutton said earlier this month.

The bill would apply to all North Carolina school districts – not just Wake County.

Other proposed legislation affecting Wake schools would change how school board members are elected – changing some seats to at-large – and redrawing district lines.

Robert Seagle, a Wake County resident since 2002, said forcing a new election would be disruptive to the county's new assignment plan. 

"We would be dragging Wake County to old days where the community is divided," he said. "If there are to be new elections, at the very least let an outside board draw the boundaries. Parents spoke out loud and clear in the election of 2011, voting for stability and continuity in student assignment."

Rev. Earl Johnson said the school board legislation is an attempt to punish and to control the school board.

"This is a nightmare – a political train wreck waiting to happen," he said. "Senate Bill 325 is another attempt by Republicans to ensure they will always have a majority on the school board."


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  • Six String Mar 26, 2013

    Whatever happened to the conservative concept that government can't do anything right? I guess that must not apply in this case.

  • Bartmeister Mar 26, 2013

    Yeah, get all the advantages and then quit paying for them. Classy.


    Ahhhhh yeah.....Hello?

  • goldenosprey Mar 26, 2013

    "What parents want the status quo to stay the same in the hands of the liberals with their agendas? The clueless parents?"

    Most of them. The ones who voted for the school board. When republicans don't get what they want they 1. seek to limit votes with targeted voter suppression. 2. Gerrymander to such an absurd degree they hold super majorities in the state senate even though dem candidates got more votes statewide 3. Seek election nullification by post-hoc shortening terms and confiscation due authority.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Mar 26, 2013

    No kidding, calling it a misleading headline is being nice.

    What parents want the status quo to stay the same in the hands of the liberals with their agendas? The clueless parents?

    Take this and anything else away from this school board as soon and often as you can.

  • BarnBrat Mar 26, 2013

    County governments have always had the legal obligation to fund school construction/maintenance (nevermind operations). A quick peek at the Wake County's balance sheet will show you that they have millions and millions of dollars of bond debt on their books (a liability) for school construction, and NO offsetting assets, as the assets (buildings themselves) are on the books of WCPSS. Nobody knows better than the WCPSS staff the needs of the students/teachers as far as buildings go (planning, constructing, etc), however the programs could definitely be run more efficiently. Without the county governments being given oversight of these programs, they are totally powerless to do anything about it. I believe if the legislation passes, much if not all of the WCPSS staff in school/maintenance divisions would keep their same jobs, would just have a different boss. I'm all for it. Increased efficiency in the construction/maintenance programs mean more money available for the students.

  • Grand Union Mar 26, 2013

    "Wow! Misleading headline! As a Wake county parent I definitely DO NOT want the school board to have control of one more thing concerning my children."

    Its not one more....its a power thay already have and have had for a long time.

    "Please take more power AWAY from these people. Please! The power they are allowed to have and misuse is unreal."

    examples please?

  • beaupeep Mar 26, 2013

    KenD: WRAL mixed up the storys/comments at some point.

  • goldenosprey Mar 26, 2013

    Can't wrap your reactionary minds around the fact you are in the minority? The School board was duly elected by the People to oversee the schools and your right wing power grab is tacky and counter- productive

  • Ken D. Mar 26, 2013

    Why are there so many comments on this story that refer to the Dix lease? What does that have to do with Wake schools?

  • beaupeep Mar 26, 2013

    "TWO parents want Wake school buildings to remain under board's control"

    Fixed that for you.