New Wake school board makes major changes on first day

Posted December 2, 2009 6:12 a.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2010 3:31 p.m. EST

— The newly elected Wake County school board members wasted no time making big changes Tuesday.

Soon after they were sworn in, the members added items to their meeting agenda and reversed some major decisions made by the former board.

For weeks, the newly elected candidates – Chris Malone, Debra Goldman, Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco – said they were going to shake up Wake County Public Schools’ socio-economic diversity policy.

“We heard your calls for reform,” said Malone.

The new board proposed an assignment change that would promote neighborhood schools and end the current plan of busing to balance socio-economic diversity. The plan will go before a committee for review.

“I think all the newly elected board members are like-minded, and I think we will do a good job together. We make a good team,” said Prickett.

After a heated discussion, the group voted to end "early release Wednesdays" starting next year. The policy sends students home early once a week so teachers can use the time for planning sessions called “Professional Learning Communities.”

Board members said they support the learning communities, but they want to find a better way to accommodate teachers without affecting family schedules.

The new board also voted to stop spending money on the Forest Ridge High School site, which has drawn negative attention for over-runs in the construction budget.

The four new members were joined by Ron Margiotta to create a majority. He was named the new board chairman, and Goldman was named vice chair.