In a blast from the past, Bill Fletcher is hoping to return to the Wake County school board by filling the vacant District 9 position.
Fletcher became the first, and at the moment still only, applicant on Friday for the Cary seat that Debra Goldman resigned from Feb. 1. Fletcher said in an interview Monday that he wants to bring his “institutional knowledge” to the at-times tumultuous school board and help build community support for public education
“I can’t do anything about what's in the past,” Fletcher said of the recent school board turmoil. “I can only contribute toward improving education for our kids and community.”
Fletcher, 63, of Cary, served on the school board from 1993 to 2005.
Fletcher was initially elected as a critic of busing for diversity who charged that Wake had wasteful administrative spending. But Fletcher became both a supporter of busing for diversity and increased school funding.
Fletcher is also known for the drawn-out fight when he ran in 2004 for state Schools Superintendent. When the election results indicated that Democrat June Atkinson had won, Fletcher filed a lawsuit contending that illegal ballots were counted.
The Republican-led state Supreme Court sided with Fletcher. Atkinson turned to a rarely used provision in the state Constitution involving contested state elections to have the Democratic-led General Assembly pick her for the position.
Fletcher's focus on the electoral contest may have contributed to him not being prepared in 2005 for his three-way race for reelection in District 9. He finished in third and didn't make the runoff which saw Eleanor Goettee win.
Since leaving the board, Fletcher said he’s focused on his career as a real-estate agent and on starting the Cary Rotary Club's "Read A Book, Get A Book" program that helps first- and second-graders at Briarcliff, Dillard Drive, Lincoln Heights, Reedy Creek and Swift Creek elementary schools.
Fletcher said they're working at this five schools because of the high concentrations of disadvantaged children there.
Fletcher got along well with his Democratic colleagues during his tenure on the board, including being elected board chairman. The school board's current Democratic majority might opt to pick Fletcher as a sign of bipartisanship.
“The school board is designed to be non-partisan,” Fletcher said. “Its focus is on delivering children a high-quality educational program.”
The term expires in November if the General Assembly doesn't make changes to the board seats. Fletcher said he hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll run for a full four-year term.