Wake County Schools

With strong support, Fletcher returns to Wake school board

Posted March 9, 2013

— The Wake County Board of Education selected Bill Fletcher Saturday to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Debra Goldman. Fletcher, a Cary resident, will represent District 9, which covers western Wake County.

Fletcher, a registered Republican, earned the support of six of the eight sitting board members, all of them Democrats. He was among six candidates to interview Saturday. Each got 30 minutes and eight questions before the board, touching on issues ranging from student assignment and growth to the board's relationship with the superintendent.

Fletcher served three terms on the board, from 1993 to 2005, and was involved in the last major bond issued advanced by the school system. 

Board Chairman Keith Sutton said that experience made a difference. Fletcher will be able to hit the ground running. He will be sworn in at the board's next meeting, March 19.

As he serves out Goldman's term, his history with successful bonds will come into play.  

 The Wake County Public School System has projected 2 percent annual enrollment growth for the next decade and needs up to 16 new elementary schools, five middle schools and six high schools to keep up with the new students. Also, many older schools need extensive renovations. schoolbd3 Wake school board votes to fill Dist. 9 seat

Officials have estimated that construction and renovation needs could reach $2 billion by 2020. A bond for that amount could add as much as 16 cents to the property tax rate for Wake County residents.

While both school board and county commissioners recognize the need for a bond, they have butted heads over how school construction should be funded. In a joint meeting last month, the boards demonstrated the tension that exists between the Republican-led county commissioners and the Democratic-majority school board.

The commissioners maintain that they would be more fiscally responsible in operating the assets and that the move would allow the school board to concentrate on policy and curriculum.

School board Chairman Keith Sutton likened the commissioners' effort to a "hostile takeover" of a business, and board member Susan Evans said it was a sign of disrespect. Bill Fletcher, candidate for Wake County Board of Education District 9 Wake school board interview: Bill Fletcher

Members of both boards said the acrimony between to the two elected bodies puts any appeal to voters for money at risk.

Fletcher and the board have other big issues on their plate as well. 

They will look to stabilize student assignment after three years of shifting policy and they will need to hire a superintendent to replace Tony Tata, ousted last summer by the Democratic majority.

Board member John Tedesco voted against Fletcher. For him, Fletcher's connection to the past was a disadvantage. 

"A lot of the reassignment our community was familiar with, this was part of the leadership that created that. And I just think it was important to be moving in a positive, fresh direction not moving backward," Tedesco said.

15 Comments

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  • Z Man Mar 19, 12:15 p.m.

    There's way too much drama here for a school board. I've never seen a board get some much news coverage.

  • crazywater Mar 19, 11:01 a.m.

    I thought the board was 5-4 Dem?

  • IPayYouPay Mar 12, 2:32 p.m.

    Democrats (6 of the 8) support this Republican ----- now, let's see if the Republicans can reverse the support and support some Democratic things. Ya think! Naw ... didn't think so - They are partisan.

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 11, 7:53 p.m.

    This type of capability may be exactly what the Wake County School Board needs now-westernwake

    Time will tell. Hopefully he won't be another 'head-nodder' as the other new member is sure to be. Here's to at-large school board elections!

  • westernwake1 Mar 11, 7:08 p.m.

    "Bill Fletcher was long one of the masterminds and proponents of the forced busing and massive reassignment for diversity." -injameswetrust2003

    I think it is unfair to say Bill Fletcher has more than luke-warm support for busing for diversity. What he did bring to the table... was that when the liberal board desired busing for diversity, Bill was the guy with the operational genius to work with the Wake administration to make it happen. Similarly when the school system wanted a bond, Bill was the guy who dug in hard and made it happen. Bill Fletcher is more of an 'operational workhorse' with strong ability to get things done than a 'liberal policy wonk'. He got things done without focussing on the 'politics' in his pervious terms, and aligned himself with majority board votes in a non-partisan manner.

    This type of capability may be exactly what the Wake County School Board needs now.... especially with a large bond coming up.

  • Wake1 Mar 11, 2:17 p.m.

    Seems to me, this is a step backwards - we need new blood & new ideas, not the same old broken ideas & promises! We need a whole new school board - starting with Sutton!

  • pappybigtuna1 Mar 11, 1:55 p.m.

    looks like the board is bringing out the big guns to the
    'tax payers" to willingly throw their wallets at the BOND

    no thanks, not this time - Vote "NO" on the School Bond Issue

  • superman Mar 11, 1:53 p.m.

    Using Tedesco's reasoning he should resign. He replaces Goldman as the odd ball on the board.

  • cbuckyoung Mar 11, 1:53 p.m.

    Fletcher is a lapdog for the ultra-left Wake County School Board. He supports the failed forced busing and reassignments for "diversity" matra of the left. Forced busing and other Socialistic plans do not improve test scores, school cultures, or community involvment in schools, but do force parents and children to spend hours getting to and from a school they are disconnected from.
    It is time to face the fact that Democrates no longer support the underdog, fairness, or decency. Democrates are in today's world only about shouting down the opposition.

  • imsirius Mar 11, 1:43 p.m.

    Everything on this board has to do with politics. That's the problem!

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