Local News

Raleigh backs single-member school board districts

Posted May 7, 2008 11:03 a.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2008 11:17 a.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday gave a vote of confidence to the Wake County school board, saying the board members' seats shouldn't be changed.

Each of the nine school board members is elected to represent a district, but mayors in Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs and Rolesville and the majority of the county's Board of Commissioners have said the system should be scrapped so some at-large districts could be added to the school board.

Backers of at-large seats said they're upset with controversial topics like reassignments and the district's attempt last year to force students to attend year-round schools. At-large members would better represent the feelings of most of the county, they said.

The Raleigh City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for retaining the district system. Mayors in Wake Forest, Zebulon, Morrisville and Wendell had previously expressed support for the current system.

"I'm of the opinion that we need to make a bold statement," Raleigh Mayor Pro Tem James West said.

The council had to revise the wording of the resolution to obtain a unanimous vote, however.

Councilman Philip Isley had balked at a draft of the resolution because it included a phrase about inadequate funding of the school system.

"What I don't like us doing is getting into the realm of someone else's political puzzle. I certainly support the Wake County school system," Isley said.

State lawmakers would have to approve any change to the way school board members are elected.