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Wake GOP on not endorsing Jennifer Mansfield for school board

Wake County Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Bryant is explaining why they won't endorse Jennifer Mansfield in her bid for the school board or any 'pretend' unaffiliateds.

In the GOP's Elephant Express e-newsletter sent out today, Bryant relates the phone conversation she had with Mansfield earlier this year about the party's endorsement in the District 3 race. Bryant said Mansfield told her she was a registered unaffiliated voter who "leaned more to the Democrat Party" and "really felt more comfortable with many Democrat issues" while also being "a strong advocate for neighborhood schools."

Bryant writes that she told Mansfield they "would be happy to consider her if she would change her voter registration" to Republican. But Bryant writes that Mansfield "immediately responded she would not do that, and I thanked her for calling."

WSCA endorses Jennifer Mansfield for school board seat

Here's the official Wake Schools Community Alliance announcement that the group is endorsing Jennifer Mansfield for the District 3 seat on the Wake County school board.

In the Friday press release, WSCA praises Mansfield, a founding member of the group, for her "knowledge of and dedication to Wake County Schools." WSCA also says Mansfield shares their objectives of academic success as the first priority for all Wake County students, stable neighborhood schools in a community model and voluntary calendar options for all families.

The press release notes how the four candidates backed by the WSCA were elected in 2009 and that "good progress has been made toward providing Wake County families with less onerous school calendar choices." But WSCA also says it's "concerned by the current injection of politics of our schools and the polarization of our board members."

Jennifer Mansfield announces school board candidacy

The race for District 3 on the Wake County school board has gotten potentially trickier for those who want to elect a neighborhood schools supporter.

Jennifer Mansfield, a leader of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, announced today that she will seek the District 3 seat now held by board member Kevin Hill. Heather Losurdo, past president of the Northern Wake Republican Club, has already announced her candidacy.

Both women could split the support of those who want to oust Hill, who hasn't formally announced his candidacy but has formed a campaign committee.

SEE UPDATE AT END OF POST FOR REACTION FROM HILL AND LOSURDO

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.

UPDATE

Click here to view the proposed map from Jim Martin.

Heated words used at OCR meeting

Things definitely got heated at Wednesday night's forum looking into allegations of racial discrimination by the Wake County school system.

As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, speakers used terms like "white supremacy" and going "back to the back of the bus" to describe the move toward neighborhood schools in Wake.

“They are being introduced to blatant white supremacy in the Wake County school system,” said parent Darryl Fulton about what his four children are facing with the end of the diversity policy.

Advocating filling all magnet school seats randomly

Is it time to fill all of Wake County's magnet seats by random lottery?

That's the position articulated at last week's school board meeting by Jennifer Mansfield, a longtime critic of the magnet selection process and a leader of the Wake Schools Community Alliance. She urged the board to eliminate the guidelines which give priority to applicants from crowded schools.

Mansfield argued that the crowding component should be removed to give applicants an equal shot of getting accepted. Currently, only 10 percent of seats are randomly filled but even that comes with some strings that I'll get into later in the post.

Going from African American male achievement to the diversity policy

A discussion Thursday about how to help improve the performance of African American male students turned into yet another fight over school diversity in Wake County.

School board member Keith Sutton gave a presentation during Thursday's ED task force meeting highlighting the racial achievement and graduation rate gaps between black and white students. Click here and here to see what was handed out.

The ensuing Q&A turned into a discussion of the elimination of the diversity policy, with some shouting and heated words.

Online petition thanks school board majority for their efforts

The Wake County school board majority is getting some online love to counter opposition from backers of the old diversity policy.

Local conservative activist Judy Keener started Monday an online "petition of appreciation" for the school board that thanks them for putting up with "relentless and unfair attacks & pressure." Among other things, the petition thanks the board for "keeping your word," "providing ALL FAMILIES choice in education,” "recognizing the importance of FAMILIES” and "willingness to abandon failed policies and practices.”

"Please keep up the good work," according to the petition. "Do not get discouraged. Remember that we support you and are deeply grateful."

CORRECTION

The petition website originally mistakenly listed the Wake County Taxpayers Association as being the creator. It was created by Judy Keener. The WCTA is only encouraging people to sign the petition.

Discussing the impact of community-based schools on real estate

What impact will the community-based school assignment plan have on Wake County real estate and property taxes?

The "Cost of Schools Plan" is the title of the discussion forum that will be held Tuesday from 6-8:15 p.m. at the Hot Point Cafe at North Hills in Raleigh. Some of the names of the speakers should be familiar.

Speakers include Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen, who spoke at the Friends of Diversity press conference, and Wake Education Partnership VP Tim Simmons. His boss, Ann Denliger, also attended the Friends of Diversity event.

WSCA announces "community communications campaign"

The Wake Schools Community Alliance is announcing a new "12-month community communications campaign."

In a press release this afternoon, the WSCA says it's kicking off the campaign "in order to foster positive and constructive dialog regarding plans and policies of Wake County Schools." It will include a new online forum, monthly brown bag meetings and community information panels.

"We are optimistic that these discussion tools can help our community get past the point where people point fingers at one another, and instead offer compromises and ideas of how to move forward," said Jennifer Mansfield, WSCA Steering Committee member, in the press release.

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