Local Politics

Cary Mayor Keeps Low Profile in Reassignment Fight

Posted February 20, 2008 5:35 p.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2008 6:46 p.m. EST

— Local parents have pulled out just about every weapon in their battle against annual student reassignments by the Wake County school system.

They have rallied, packed school board meetings and built a coalition of support. One thing they haven't been able to do is pull out Cary's biggest hammer – Mayor Harold Weinbrecht – to put some force behind their cause.

Parent Karen Carter said repeated reassignments are destroying her son's neighborhood school. She said she's seen Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly, Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears and Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams speaking out against Wake County Board of Education policies and doesn't understand why Weinbrecht hasn't joined in the chorus.

"There's only so much as parents we can do," Carter said. "We've got to have that support. He has to be willing to be vocal."

Weinbrecht said he has been working with school board members individually.

"I'm all for change. I'm not for show," he said. "Standing up and protesting, while it may make (parents) feel good, it's not going to give them a solution or even help in the long run."

The mayor said he doesn't want to give families "false hope" by being vocal about reassignment. He was the only member of the Cary Town Council to vote against the idea of a roundtable discussion with school board members on the student shifts.

"We tried this in 2003 and didn't see much of any change," he said.

Local parents said having the Cary mayor out front on the issue would help their effort.

"I understand his concerns about giving us false hope, but at the same time, if he doesn't do anything, then we're going to get nothing out of it," Michelle Henderson said.

Town Council members haven't set a date for the meeting with school board members. They said they hope to share concerns and find solutions.