Local News

Durham Residents Want Change In School Board Elections

Posted May 6, 2005 6:08 a.m. EDT

— Some Durham County residents are saying "enough" when it comes to behavior at Durham School Board meetings.

Frustrated and fed up, Charlotte Woods and the Concerned Citizens for Accountable Government want to change the attitude by changing the way board members are elected.

Woods said there is one disruption after another during the school board meetings.

"It truly is an embarrassment," Woods said.

The Concerned Citizens want all members to be at-large so voters have a hand in picking each one.

"Children are bussed out of their districts, so I think the only fair thing is for all the parents to be able to vote for every school board member," Woods said.

Board member Jackie Wagstaff said the group is motivated by color not concern.

"What this is saying is we don't like the choices black people are making when it comes to leadership," Wagstaff said.

"I don't want an all-white school board," Woods said. "I want members of the school board who can conduct themselves as ladies and gentlemen, speak intelligently, and who will be good role models."

To change the way school board members are elected, Concerned Citizens will need to get at least 15,000 signatures on the petition and county commissioner approval by July 1.

County Commissioner Becky Heron said she would likely vote for the change, but commissioner Phil Cousin said he plans to fight it if it makes its way to the board.

Concerned Citizens is the same group that collected thousands of signatures in an effort to get former city manager Marcia Conner fired.