Local News

Wake school board names new chairman

Posted June 16, 2009 12:44 p.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2009 6:36 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County Board of Education on Tuesday named its vice chairman to succeed outgoing Chairwoman Rosa Gill.

Kevin L. Hill, who represents District 3 in north Raleigh, served as a social studies teacher for 14 years and as an assistant principal and principal in the school system before retiring in 2005.

He now serves as a clinical instructor and assistant program coordinator for undergraduate secondary social studies education at North Carolina State University.

"I'm grateful for this privilege, and I look forward to serving as chair for the coming year," Hill said after being elected. "My commitment is to work closely with my fellow board members, always remembering that our responsibility is to help provide the best educational opportunities for all children in Wake County."

After nearly 10 years serving on the school board, Gill, who represents District 4 in east Raleigh, resigned from her post. She will serve out the remainder of Rep. Dan Blue's term in the state House of Representatives. Blue, D-Wake, moved to the state Senate after the April death of Sen. Vernon Malone, D-Wake.

"Serving on the Wake County Board of Education has been my pleasure," Gill said Tuesday. "While I am extremely honored to be able to serve our citizens as their representative in the North Carolina House, I have felt the same honor and pride serving as a representative of the Board of Education."

The board elected Horace Tart, who represents District 2 in southeast Wake County, vice chairman. Tart is a developer and former Marine who also taught in Wake County for five years.

The school board must still choose someone to take Gill's seat on the school board. Tuesday was her last meeting.

The board will place an ad in the local newspaper, accept applications until July 20 and interview candidates on Aug. 5. The board has yet to determine what the selection criteria will be. Candidates, however, must be from Gill's district.

The school board also discussed the district’s 2009-10 budget Tuesday.

The Wake County Public School System will receive $313.5 million, less than the $316 million the district requested, from the Wake County Board of Commissioners, who on Monday approved its $953.6 million budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

School officials have said tight funding could lead to fewer teachers and larger classes. Nearly 1,500 teachers who have contracts ending June 30 have been notified they will not automatically be rehired.

The board also approved a plan to cut 14 vacant positions and lay off eight employees. The cuts all have to do with construction-related jobs funded with bond money. Because the school system has stretched out the building schedule for new construction, the positions are unnecessary.

The school board also was expected to introduce a draft policy on a plan for teachers to meet once a week to discuss ways to improve student learning.

The so-called professional learning communities meetings mean schools will get out one hour earlier on Wednesdays, and that time would be made up by adding time to other school days.

There has been a bit of controversy surrounding this plan. Some opponents are concerned about the effect it will have on family schedules and after-school activities.