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Tedesco: Upcoming school board proposal 'a doozy'

Posted March 18, 2013 7:18 p.m. EDT
Updated March 18, 2013 9:10 p.m. EDT

— An email from Wake County school board member John Tedesco to the rest of the board warns more school-board legislation is on the way – and seems to suggest he's in the know about it.

The message, which was sent Monday and obtained by WRAL News, hints at tense discussion among board members over legislative proposals to give the county ownership of schools and redraw school board districts, two powers that currently rest with school boards in North Carolina. 

"What the General Assembly giveth, they can clearly take," Tedesco warns the board. 

"I tried to warn you to learn from our past mistakes, don't overreach and don't disregard the concerns of other elected bodies or they would not be happy," he wrote.

"Some of you said that you took that as threats and were ready for the fight," Tedesco wrote. 

"Well now you get to eat the pie you baked," he said. "I have a feeling it's just getting started." 

"Wait till you see the next piece of legislation," he ended. "Preliminary drafts suggest its a doosy! [sic]"

Tedesco said Monday night that he has no special access to legislation being drafted. He said he was speaking only of drafts that had already been circulated among all the board members.  

It's unclear why he would warn fellow board members to "wait till you see" a proposal they had already seen.

Tedesco also denied he had been working with lawmakers on proposals, saying, "I'm paying attention. I'm talking to people" at legislative events like cocktail parties. He is frequently seen around the legislative complex. 

He said he didn't intend for his message to come across as vindictive or spiteful. 

Tedesco, who lost a 2012 race for state superintendent of public instruction, said he and fellow Republican board member Deborah Prickett had urged the Democratic majority not to oppose changes sought by Republican county commissioners and state lawmakers.

"You could see the writing on the wall," he said. "It was a losing proposition to fight them anyway." 

He singled out the decision to hire a legislative lobbyist as an example of the board's "adversarial relationship" with Republican leaders.

"We should be working with them to find a solution that works for all us," said Tedesco.