Local Politics

Wake school board runoff will proceed

Posted October 28, 2009 7:19 a.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2009 6:43 p.m. EDT

— Wake County school board contender Cathy Truitt's name will remain on the ballot for a Nov. 3, 2009, runoff election, despite her late decision to drop out of the race.

The State Board of Elections decided Wednesday that the race for the District 2 Board of Education seat should proceed.

Truitt, asked for the runoff following the Oct. 6 election, in which she received 24 percent of the vote to contender John Tedesco's 49 percent. Last week, she conceded the race and withdrew her request for the run-off.

Because state law doesn't cover instances where a candidate tries to withdraw such a request, the Wake County Board of Elections referred the matter to the state elections board.

Ballots have been printed and absentee and early voting have started. The election will cost taxpayers more than $30,000.

Neither Truitt nor Tedesco were present at the election board's hearing Thursday morning. Calls to Truitt were not immediately returned.

"I am spending thousands and thousands more dollars getting out the vote again," Tedesco said. "I am a little disappointed in that."

If Truitt wins, the seat will remain vacant, and the school board will appoint someone to fill it.

Tedesco and three other school board candidates who won their seats were endorsed by community groups like WakeCARES and the Wake Schools Community Alliance because they indicated they would be willing to change the school system's student assignment policies away from one that promotes socioeconomic diversity to favor neighborhood schools.

Winners Chris Malone in District 1, Deborah Prickett in District 7 and Debra Goldman in District 9 join school board member Ron Margiotta in backing the neighborhood schools position. Tedesco would give that faction a majority position on the nine-member board.

The North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which favors the existing student assignment policies, urged elections officials to proceed with the Nov. 3 election.

"The voters will decide their choice whatever their choice is, but we must always ensure that the ebb and flow of the election process is not based on emotions, or political agenda, but the rule of law and in accordance with our general statutes," the group said in a statement Wednesday.