Wake County Schools

Wake school board approves 2011 legislative agenda

Posted March 1, 2011 10:26 p.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2011 11:07 p.m. EST

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a draft of its 2011 legislative agenda, which includes a request to change state law so that the board chairperson can vote in meetings.

School Board Policy 1200 dictates that the head of the school board has no authority to vote except to break a tie. To change the policy would require a change in legislation.

The concern voiced by Board Chairman Ron Margiotta and other board members is whether the board chair is fully representing his or her constituents if he or she isn’t allowed to vote.

Margiotta said it’s about being able to send a message to, not only his district but the entire community, about his position on issues.

Some board members pointed out, however, that the chairperson could still make his or her positions on issues known to the public without a vote.

To that, Margiotta replied that as the chairman officiating the meetings, he tries to stay out of the discussions.

Other items on the agenda include changing policy to give the school district the funding and flexibility to lengthen the school year, asking for a review and clarification of the state’s accreditation process and also raising the cap on charter schools.  (View the proposed draft of the board’s legislative agenda.)

The board voted against an amendment to the agenda by board member Keith Sutton, who proposed including several recommendations released Monday by the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

The Public School Forum is a think tank of business, education and government leaders who conducted a year-long study of the state education policies.

Although several board members liked the recommendations, which included longer school days for some schools and extending the school year, some said they weren’t ready to add all the recommendations to the legislative agenda.

There was some discussion to delay the approval to look at the recommendations but members feared they would miss key legislative deadlines if they did.