Wake County Schools

County leaders seek legislative changes to Wake school board

Posted January 21, 2013
Updated January 22, 2013

— A call for change could lead to a political showdown between Wake County commissioners and Wake County school board members.

The Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday afternoon on its 2013 legislative agenda, which includes taking away ownership and oversight of school sites and buildings from the school system and giving it to commissioners.

"I see that as an obvious power grab by the leadership of the county commissioners," school board chairman Keith Sutton said Monday. "The statutory authority is clearly given to the school board to have control over that."

But Commission Chairman Joe Bryan says the building-land issue is a matter of efficiency.

If the proposed change is successful, the Wake County Public School System would be the only one in the state that doesn't have ownership and oversight of its schools and land.

The Board of Commissioners' legislative agenda also seeks a change to the way school board members are elected. Instead of one member being elected from each of the school system's nine districts, the county would be redrawn into five districts, and the other four board members would be elected countywide on at at-large basis.

Changing the election process, Bryan says, is the board listening to constituents.

Keith Sutton County leaders to seek legislative changes to Wake school board

"We hear from a lot of people who feel they only have one voice on that board," he said. "It is a county system, and this would give greater representation for our citizens."

Sutton isn't buying the arguments.

"It's their aim to circumvent the will of the school board," he said.

Any changes could have a huge impact on the school system, political observer Barlow Herget says.

He believes at-large elections could give Republicans the chance to gain back the board majority on a school board that's supposed to non-partisan.

"With a new Republican majority in both houses in the General Assembly and a new Republican governor, I think if a Republican board of commissioners submits something, it's likely to get approved," Herget said. "It's setting up a fight is what it's doing."

33 Comments

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  • krimson Jan 24, 8:41 a.m.

    Can't win??? Change the rules...

  • bill15 Jan 23, 6:08 p.m.

    Goldman and Tedesco for County Commissioners!

  • superman Jan 23, 3:54 p.m.

    The County Commissioners are only a step away from being as bad as the school board. We dont need the fox watching the hen house. Wouldnt trust the CC to shovel dirt.

  • Zealotry Jan 23, 3:00 p.m.

    IpayYoupay: "While I am unaffiliated, the Republicans still can't convince me to "come on over". They are selfish and disrespectful and that is simply not me. I am also not willing to give the shirt off my mom's back to the nearest person that just walks up and asks for something either. But the Republicans have a lot of convincing to do to win me over"

    You are not affiliated??? Hmmmmm Sounds like you ARE!

  • free2bme Jan 22, 5:30 p.m.

    And the GOP has a nerve to complain about big goverment. What is this??

  • free2bme Jan 22, 5:23 p.m.

    Why didn't they take over when parents and students were going to jail at school board meetings. Why didn't they take over when the police had to be at school board mettings. NC is so sad and full of Tea Partyers that are mad that the WCPSS school board is not Republican control. I will be so glad when this state is overtaken with minorities and becomes more diverse. It is only a matter of time and they will not have control of this state. Things will change in the next ten years or so and all people will be fairly represented.

  • Wake1 Jan 22, 5:16 p.m.

    If I were on the school board, it would not matter if I was Republican or Democrat - I would work to do what is best for ALL the kids to the best of my ability & nothing would be done for my benefit or benefit of a few. I would listen to others ideas, especially the parents that are involved in the schools and the teachers as well as students. I wish the current members would act that way!

  • bkb Jan 22, 4:19 p.m.

    I don't agree with the idea of at-large seats for the Wake County School Board. Being from Eastern Wake, we definitely need someone who will actually work for the students in this area.

  • IPayYouPay Jan 22, 3:04 p.m.

    While I am unaffiliated, the Republicans still can't convince me to "come on over". They are selfish and disrespectful and that is simply not me. I am also not willing to give the shirt off my mom's back to the nearest person that just walks up and asks for something either. But the Republicans have a lot of convincing to do to win me over.

  • IPayYouPay Jan 22, 3:02 p.m.

    Republicans are always cooking up "taking over". I figured it was only about Republican versus Democrats - they have no care at all about the kids of the county - except maybe their little Republicans growing up.

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