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Great Schools in Wake Coalition and NAACP urging changes in Wake County's student assignment plan

Thursday night's community mass meeting at Martin Street Baptist Church dealt with the new Wake County student assignment plan, getting mediation for the school board protesters and assailing the conditions at Walnut Creek Elementary School.

As noted in today's article, most the focus of the meeting led by the state NAACP and the Great Schools in Wake Coalition was on complaints about the assignment plan. The crowd of around 50 people, mainly supporters of the old diversity policy, were urged to contact school leaders to change the plan.

"If you let the plane fly in the air and you don’t make those course corrections that you feel need to be made in order to make it a more successful plan for all students so we have a fair and diverse and well-funded education for all students, then shame on us if we don’t advocate for the changes to make it happen," said Patty Williams of Great Schools in Wake.

SEE UPDATE AT END OF POST

1347253379 Great Schools in Wake Coalition and NAACP urging changes in Wake County's student assignment plan The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Speakers at today's student assignment public hearing

A total of 26 people have pre-registered to speak at Broughton High School at today's Wake County school board public hearing on the student assignment plan.

A number of the usual people who've criticized the school board majority over the past two years are on the list, including Neil Riemann, Rhonda Curtright,  Patty Williams, Greg Flynn, Heather Koons, Tom Rhodes and Amy Lee. One person also on the list is Seth Keel.

I haven't received word yet on whether Keel, who is still banned at showing up at school board meetings following his arrest, will be allowed to speak today. It will be interesting seeing whether Keel, the Rev. William Barber and all the other people who've been barred from attending board meetings will be allowed back if the Democrats regain the board majority.

Over the past two years, some speakers have railed against the board majority for leaving the ban in place. Their trespassing cases still haven't been adjudicated yet.

UPDATE

Keel is not being allowed to speak at the meeting over the objections of him and his supporters.

Heather Losurdo holds large fundraising lead in District 3 race

Wake County school board member Kevin Hill and challenger Jennifer Mansfield lag far behind Heather Losurdo in the amount of cash raised so far in District.

The new report filed today by Hill shows he had raised $15,245 as of Aug. 30 with $12,123.69 at hand. Mansfield's new report has her with $3,582.19 raised as of Aug. 30 with $1,826.86 on hand.

Well out in front financially is Losurdo, who's raised $30,529.55 as of Aug. 30 with $11,801.85 on hand.

Ron Margiotta holds fundraising lead over Susan Evans

Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta and Susan Evans are both pulling in substantial amounts of cash in the District 8 race, including money from the Popes, Bob Luddy and the Campbells.

The new campaign report filed today by Margiotta shows he had raised $40,367.33 as of Aug. 30 with $34,111.23 on hand. The new report for Evans shows she had raised $26,406.43 as of Aug. 30 with $21,405.30 on hand.

The biggest donors for Margiotta in his new report are the $4,000 apiece from conservative businessman Art Pope, his wife Katherine Pope and conservative businessman Bob Luddy.

Christine Kushner and Donna Williams raise nearly $70,000 combined

The District 6 race for the Wake County school board is looking like it could be the most expensive of all the races this fall.

The new campaign report filed today by Christine Kushner shows she has raised $41,565.83 as of Aug. 30 with $33,256.54. The new report filed today by Donna Williams shows she has raised $27,806.83 as of Aug. 30 with $22,634.43 on hand.

The biggest donor in Kushners' new report is the Democratic Women of Wake County, which gave $1,100. She also received small donations from former school board members John Gilbert, Lori Millberg, Tom Oxholm and Susan Parry.

GSIW members say it's "premature" to vote on a student assignment plan

Supporters of the old Wake County diversity policy are urging the school system to slow down the pace for adopting a new student assignment plan.

In an op-ed piece today, Great Schools in Wake Coalition members Sharon Eckard and Amy Lee argue that there are too many questions unanswered right now for the school board to vote on a plan. But much of the criticism in the piece focuses on the blue plan while both writers argue that it would be "easier" to support a modified green plan.

"Let's slow down the pace and analyze the options with rigor and appropriate details," Eckard and Lee write. "There is much more at stake in these plans than 'Where will my child go to school?' These plans will affect all Wake County residents through the real estate market, school taxes, the ability to cost-effectively attract high-performing teachers and the allocation of money among schools."

More on the comments at last week's OCR meeting

Here's more about what was said at last week's OCR meeting at Martin Street Baptist Church.

Click here for an earlier post about the meeting. Most of the speakers and the crowd were opposed to the school board majority's elimination of the diversity policy.

The meeting kicked off with the Rev. Earl Johnson, pastor of Martin Street Baptist, getting laughs and applause from the crowd when he quipped that the church was "a very neutral site by the way." That was in response to the complaints from the school system about holding the meeting at the church.

Speakers rip into school board at Tata's first meeting

New Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata got a first-hand look Tuesday at what school board meetings will be like, from emotional public speakers to bickering by board members.

Most of the 39 speakers who signed up railed against the school board over the student reassignment plan and the elimination of the use of socioeconomic diversity. Some speakers got even more personal, particularly  directing their attacks at school board member John Tedesco.

Several speakers welcomed Tata. But Tata was also warned by speakers to restore diversity or else he and the school district would face dire consequences.

Heated words exchanged at school board meeting

The antipathy between the Wake County school board majority and their critics was extremely evident on Tuesday.

As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, speakers lashed into the board majority for abandoning the diversity policy and going to only one public comment period per month. Members of the board majority fired back later on in the discussion before adopting the public comment change.

Here are examples of some of the comments:

Supporters of the defunct diversity policy vowing to keep on fighting

The end of socioeconomic diversity in Wake County's student assignment policy doesn't mean the fighting is over in the state's largest school district.

As noted in today's article, supporters of the now defunct diversity policy are vowing to fight the board majority's plans. We've got the long process involved in developing the new community assignment zones and next year's school board elections.

“We are going to every meeting, we’re going to watch every line that’s drawn and every child that’s moved,” said Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

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