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Speakers criticize school board redistricting maps

None of the speakers had good things to say Tuesday about the proposed Wake County school board redistricting maps.

As noted in today's article, most of the speakers were critics of the board majority who questioned both the way the new maps were developed and the boundary lines used. Another gripe was about school board members Chris Malone and John Tedesco saying ahead of time they wouldn't support making revisions to the maps.

Jim Martin kicked things off with questions about the changes, particularly in southwestern Wake. He said that area has been "a pawn in annexation discussions" and other issues.


Click here to view the proposed map from Jim Martin.

Questioning the proposed school board redistricting boundaries

Opposition is forming to the proposed Wake County school board redistricting maps.

As noted in today's article, Democratic school board member Anne McLaurin, Wake County Democratic Party Chairman Mack Paul, the Great Schools in Wake Coalition and the League of Women Voters of Wake County are all upset about the maps.

Much of the concerns seems to revolve around McLaurin's District 5. Despite some speculation that McLaurin won't seek a second term, she said she's leaning toward running again.


Only two speakers registered online in advance of the hearing. You can begin registering in person at the hearing site at 4:45 p.m. There are a total of nine speakers this evening.

Money coming in for school board campaigns

Money is already flowing into Wake County school board campaigns several months before the elections or even the start of the campaign filing period.

The biggest early donors are Ann Campbell and John Campbell. School board members Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton have both received $8,000 from the Campbells.

Ann Campbell, the president of Campbell Alliance Pharmaceutical Consulting, might sound familiar. She's a magnet school parent from North Raleigh and Great Schools in Wake Coalition member who wrote this March 17 op-ed piece urging support for maintaining socioeconomic diversity in schools.

School board to hold May 10 public hearing on proposed redistricting map

More to come later but here's the quick rundown on the proposed new school board redistricting maps for Wake County.

The school board will post the proposed map online before a May 10 public hearing. A vote could take place May 17.

Attorney Kieran Shanahan said they tried not to drastically change districts in their efforts to balance out the populations. He said each district is less than 1 percent variance in population.


School board discussing budget, redistricting and AdvancED on Tuesday

The budget and redistricting will take up much of today's Wake County school board work session.

The meeting agenda calls for spending two hours to review Superintendent Tony Tata's budget proposal. You might start seeing more discussion about what would be targeted if the state funding cut is more than the 5 percent that Tata used to build his budget.

The school board will spend an hour getting an update on the redistricting process. Groups such as the League of Women Voters of Wake County and the Great Schools in Wake Coalition have accused the board of not acting transparently when it comes to drawing up new election boundaries.

John Tedesco on the importance of this year's school board elections

Wake County school board John Tedesco hit on a wide range of topics during an interview today on the Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF.

After calling him "one of the heroes," LuMaye asked Tedesco about the opposition "using race and fear" to block the school board majority's actions. Tedesco agreed they were using fear while touting increased minority placement in advanced classes, lower suspension rates and cutting the budget (so far) without any teacher layoffs.

"The opposition is most afraid that we're going to show that conservative leadership can make public education successful once again," Tedesco said.

GSIW opposing changing schedules at 14 year-round schools

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is opposing a proposal to allow up to 14 under-enrolled Wake County multi-track year-round schools to switch to a single track for the 2011-12 school year.

In a press release today, GSIW says the decision should be postponed until after the new comprehensive long-term student assignment plan is developed. The new plan wouldn't go into effect before the 2012-13 school year.

“A piecemeal approach to assignment is precisely what got previous Wake School Boards into trouble,” said GSIW Chair Yevonne Brannon in the press release. “As Superintendent Tata and his staff are currently working on a long-term plan, it seems logical to look at the bigger picture before impacting overall school capacity. We are sensitive to the desire of parents who wish to have their children on a single calendar, but we don’t want projected growth to cause another upheaval when we need room for new students.”

John Tedesco promising "you ain't seen nothing yet"

Wake County school board member John Tedesco's colleagues weren't joking when they repeatedly said he was charged up on caffeine when he gave a fiery speech at last Thursday's Northern Wake Republican Club meeting.

During the speech, Tedesco praised the board majority's actions since December 2009 in "revamping public education." He also ripped into liberals, including what he called their "unholy trinity" of the NAACP, the Great Schools in Wake Coalition and Raleigh FIST.

"They will try and scare people," Tedesco said of the opposition. "People use fear. These are cowards who understand that anger can be power as long as there is a victim on TV. So they will strike fear."

Wake admits error in OCR response and GSIW comments on report

The Wake County school system is admitting it made an "error" in its response to federal civil rights investigators while the Great Schools in Wake Coalition in charging today the report had "many oversights and misleading information."

School board attorney Ann Majestic sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights last Tuesday saying they incorrectly asserted that “students of all racial subgroups see their academic performance decline as the length of their bus ride increases.” 

Majestic wrote that while it's generally true of black and white students, "it does not appear to be true of Hispanic students and group size for other subgroups is probably too small to be meaningful."

GSIW and League of Women Voters holding meetings on school board redistricting

Two groups that have been critical of the elimination of the diversity policy are also holding three open houses on redistricting of Wake County school board seats.

The League of Women Voters of Wake County and the Great Schools in Wake Coalition are teaming up for forums Monday at Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, Tuesday at Eva Perry Library in Apex and April 19 at Cameron Village Library in Raleigh. Click here for a press release that provides more detail.

Speakers for both groups raised concerns about the school board's handling of the redistricting process during Tuesday's meeting.

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