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Wake County school board members thank voters for passing school bond issue

Wake County school board members were repeatedly giving their thanks Tuesday to voters for passing the $810 million school construction bond issue.

As noted in today’s article, board members took time during Tuesday’s meeting to say how much they appreciated the trust the community was giving them in passing the bonds. To a person, every board member gave his/her thanks.

“On behalf of the students, teachers, faculty, staff and this board, we are grateful for your support and your trust in us for that vote,” said school board Chairman Keith Sutton.

Wake County school board on teacher tenure and other issues

Here’s a recap of what’s taken place so far at today’s Wake County school board meeting.

The most heated discussion took place about how Wake would have to implement the new state law eliminating teacher tenure. Like other districts, Wake would have until June 2014 to offer 25 percent of the teachers a four-year contract that comes with $4,000 in raises over the next four years.

The contracts can only be offered to teachers who have tenure, called career status in North Carolina. If they accept, they’d voluntarily give up their career status.

Wake County school board dealing with bond aftermath and other issues today

Expect a lot of thanks to be given to the public during today's Wake County school board meeting as the school district takes various actions to follow up on last week's approval of the $810 million school construction bond issue.

During the work session, the board will get a staff update on the real estate acquisition process and market conditions. At the regular meeting, the board is scheduled to vote on buying land for an elementary school in the northwest Cary/Morrisvlle area (E-33) and an elementary school in the northwest Cary/Brier Creek area (E-38).

Also during the work session, staff will brief the board on the schematic designs for Scotts Ridge Elementary School in Apex and Abbotts Creek Elementary School in North Raleigh, both projects that depended on the bond passing last week. During the regular meeting, the board will vote on agreements that will result in Abbotts Creek being part of a site that includes a school, a community center, a park and an EMS facility.

Talking about what the new Wake County school board may be like

What will things be like for the new Wake County school board that has seven registered Democrats, an unaffiliated member who used to be a Democrat and a registered Republican called a RINO by some critics?

As noted in Saturday’s article, members of the new board and their supporters say the partisan fighting will end and the board will be able to focus on student achievement instead. But critics say they worry the new board could become just like the pre-2009 board and ignore dissenting opinions.

School board Chairman Keith Sutton said you can’t assume the new board, which takes office in December, will be in lock step on everything.

Weighing the timing of tax increase to pay Wake County school bonds

Would you rather the Wake County Board of Commissioners just pass the bulk of the tax increase for the school bond issue next year or phase in the increase over multiple years?

As noted in today’s article, the funding scenario from county staff was for taxes to go up 4.86 cents per $100 of property value in the 2014-15 budget to pay for the bond debt costs. An additional tax increase of 0.67 cents would be spread out during the following four years to pay for operating the new schools as they open.

But Joe Bryan, chairman of the board of commissioners, said Wednesday the panel will have “serious discussions” about phasing in the 4.86-cent tax increase over multiple years. He said they might be able to raise taxes by only two cents next year to provide the money for the school system’s immediate needs.

Raleigh and Cary voters helped pass Wake County school bond issue

You can thank or blame voters in Raleigh and Cary for passing the Wake County school bond issue on Tuesday.

As noted in today’s article, voters in Wake’s two biggest municipalities mostly went for the bonds, helping offset the opposition from the smaller municipalities. Most precincts in Raleigh, Cary and Morrisville voted for the bonds.

It was more mixed but still generally supportive of the bonds in Apex, Garner and Holly Springs.

NC Democratic Party touting Wake County school election results

North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller is joining local Democrats in crowing about the Wake County education election results on Tuesday.

“Wake County voters overwhelmingly approved investment in public education by expanding Democratic majorities on the Wake County Board of Education and passing the school construction bond last night,” Voller said in a press release today. “In 2011, in a tough run-off, Democrats were able to wrestle control of the Wake County Board of Education from a Republican majority prone to short-sightedness and overreach.

Wake is a bellwether county and last night was the first referendum on the fringe policies of Gov. McCrory and Republican legislative majorities, who have meddled in local government affairs and turned their backs on public education since coming into power. North Carolinians know we can do better and sent a clear signal last night that they’re ready to reclaim our state for our teachers, students and citizens."

Wake County GOP "disappointed" that school board candidates didn't win

Tuesday night’s election won’t go down as a good night for local Republicans, but Wake County Republican Party Chairwoman Donna Williams is trying to put the best spin on things.

In an email message today to fellow Republicans, Williams says they’re “thrilled” that four of their endorsed candidates won. As for the eight endorsed candidates who lost including all four school board candidates Williams says they’re “thankful” they ran but “are disappointed with the election results.”

“While many sit at home complaining, you put yourself out there, and gave it your best,” Williams says of the losing candidates. “Please stay engaged, as we need more people like you.”

Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill thanks public for passing school bond issue

Wake County Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill is thanking voters for approving the $810 million school construction bond issue, which he says will help “ensure access to a high quality education for generations of Wake County children.”

In a letter posted online this morning, Merrill says:

A letter of thanks from Superintendent Merrill

CORRECTION

Merrill’s letter was posted Tuesday night.

Bob Geary says "order's been restored" on the Wake County school board

In the days to come, look for various groups and pundits to weigh in on the significance of the passage of the Wake County school bond issue and the near complete takeover of the school board by Democratic-backed members.

Bob Geary of the liberal Independent Weekly is giving his analysis with an online article today that says the elections mean that "order's been restored on the Wake school board, whose nine members now include zero — as in none at all — right-wing Republicans." He calls it a "a vote of confidence in the school system."

Geary also calls the passage of the bond issue a case of "rejecting the Republican brand once more" because the Wake County Republican Party had opposed the measure.

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