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Savings of moving school HQ to Cary

Wake County school board members and administrators are stressing the potential financial savings from moving the district's HQ from Raleigh to Cary.

As noted in today's North Raleigh News article, the estimate is the move to consolidate most of Wake's admin space to Crossroads Corporate Park will save $29 million over 20 years. In addition, most of the savings, around $20 million, would come in the next five years by selling three buildings, including the main admin building on Wake Forest Road.

"It's a good professional deal that will save the taxpayers money during a difficult time," said Chris Malone, chairman of the school board's facilities committee.

Looking at the GOP questionnaires for the new school board members

By popular request, here's a post on the questionnaires that three of the four new Wake County school board members had filled out last spring when they asked for the endorsement of the Wake County Republican Party.

I've got the questionnaires for Debra Goldman, Chris Malone and John Tedesco. I don't have Deborah Prickett's questionnaire but she was also endorsed by the Wake GOP.

Critics of the board majority have used the questionnaires to argue that the new members have politicized the board. You guys can read and decide.

Debating a national search for superintendent

Here's a recap of today's first meeting of the Wake County school board's superintendent search committee.

It looks like a split is emerging between majority and minority members over whether to hire a search firm and to conduct a national search. Committee chairwoman Debra Goldman said it could cost $75,000 to $100,000 to pay a search firm to conduct a national search.

But Goldman and Chris Malone are arguing for hiring a firm and conducting a national search to bring the best possible candidate.

Malone speaks out on critics of new school board majority

Wake County school board member Chris Malone is firing back at the "54.2 percent club," the name he uses to label the opponents of the new board majority's efforts to end the socioeconomic diversity policy.

In a statement released today, Malone says the 22 former school board members at last month's press conference and all the other critics "were nowhere to be found" when test scores and graduation rates dropped. He said efforts to blame the declines on lack of resources is "to blame those they are trying to help and other governmental bodies."

"To put it succinctly, they are relinquishing their responsibility, denying their legacy, calling us names, and boldly declaring our guilt!" Malone writes. "Man I have to get me some of that kool aid they are drinking! Their audacity is astounding."

My lunch with Art Pope

In my column today, I offered to introduce Chris Malone, a member of the Wake school board, to the Rev. David Forbes, the pastor at Christian Faith Baptist Church. At a rally last week, Forbes was critical of the board majority, which is ending a diversity-based assignment policy in favor of neighborhood schools. 

N&O reporter Thomas Goldsmith called Malone for comment. Malone said he was not familiar with Forbes. "This guy has a right to his opinion but he's wrong and we're right," Malone said. I think Malone and Forbes should get to know each other. In my column, I offered to get the three of us together and offered to pay for lunch.

That prompted one of favorite anonymous online friends, AgentPierce, to post a comment on my column saying, "Fine sentiment John. When's the last time you and Art Pope had lunch together?"

Art Pope and I had lunch together on Monday, April 19. We had sandwiches from Cafe Carolina brought to The N&O. I was the host and paid for lunch. We were joined by John Hood from the John Locke Foundation and David Riggs from the John William Pope Foundation. I invited them to talk with the staff here about the groups funded by the Pope Foundation and how they relate to each other. They graciously accepted my invitation and we had a good conversation. 

AgentPierce is a good fellow.  And he's brilliant (just ask him). I know his true identity but the whole world should know his name. Now that I have answered your question, AgentPierce, I have one for you.  I will buy your lunch at The Pit, your favorite downtown restaurant, if you will use your real name when you post at . Will you state your real name and town? Don't let me down.

-John Drescher 




School construction and Spotlight on Students

School construction and student awards will be on the minds of Wake County school board members today.

At 9 a.m., the full school board facilities committee will review planning issues to develop school construction programs and scheduled mobile or modular unit relocations. Committee chairman Chris Malone said he didn't expect to discuss today his proposal to reexamine the financial cost of building green schools.

At 5 p.m., the school board has set aside three hours to honor 63 students with Spotlight on Students awards. The board has traditionally done this ceremony once a month but has delayed the last few because of all the other stuff going on at the meetings.

Members named to superintendent search committee

Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta has named the members of the superintendent search committee but Keith Sutton is not one of them.

Board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman will chair the committee. She had previously been charged with looking at various firms that might be hired to help conduct the search.

Goldman will be joined on the committee by Chris Malone, Carolyn Morrison and Deborah Prickett.


Click here to view the school district's press release on the committee appointments. 

Reviewing the financial costs of building green schools in Wake

Could environmentalists be the new group that locks horns with the Wake County school board majority?

As noted in today's article, Chris Malone, chair of the school board's facilities committee, is calling for a financial review of the school district's green schools efforts. Green schools require more money up front but are supposed to save an even larger amount over time.

But Malone said there are questions whether the green efforts actually are leading to enough savings to justify their use during these tough financial times. He says they need to examine the issue in more detail before including it as part of a bond issue in the next few years.

School board approves modified 2010 legislative agenda

Members of the new Wake County school board majority put their stamp today on the state legislative lobbying agenda.

The board amended the agenda, which includes the items that Wake wants the General Assembly to approve, to say that the district opposes giving taxing authority to local school boards. Previous school boards have lobbied to get taxing authority from the state.

New school board member John Tedesco said he likes having the checks of balances of relying on the county, state and federal governments for funding.

Questioning reversing the Lacy to Stough moves

Is today's vote on returning the Lacy to Stough nodes a case of political payback or a righting of a wrong by the old Wake County school board?

As noted in today's article, families in the three Lacy Elementary nodes worked hard to back members of the new school board majority who are poised to reverse the assignment today.

Residents in the three nodes gave more than $2,600 in last fall's campaign to either the candidates directly, the Wake Schools Community Alliance or the Wake County Republican Party.

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