It looks like we can forget about calling them the Wake County school board majority for now.
As noted in today's article, four of the five members of the old Republican majority say the recent actions by board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman mean the coalition is dead when it comes to student assignment. They say that it will take next year's elections to bring about a new majority to implement community-based schools.
“Right now those who believe in forced busing and socioeconomic engineering have found a new ally,” said board member John Tedesco.
Members of the former majority are citing both the Oct. 5 resolution and Goldman's willingness to consider Kevin Hill's proposal to slow things down.
The only one of the five who might disagree that there's is still a majority on student assignment is Goldman, who did not return repeated requests for comment.
Tedesco, whose zone plan was killed by Goldman, continues to have the harshest words to say about her.
"People indicated they want major change," Tedesco said. "The Goldman-Sutton resolution and the Hill status quo proposal are designed to stop that change."
Tedesco noted that Goldman, while discussing the resolution on Oct. 5 that killed the zone plan, said "we have a lot that is working." He argues there's a lot that isn't working with the current assignment system.
But Tedesco isn't the only member of the former majority upset by Goldman's actions.
“We’re not a majority,” said board member Deborah Prickett. “We don’t have the fifth vote and she seems to be on the other side. It’s hard to predict what she’s thinking. I don’t know where she stands.”
"She showed a lack of commitment to her previous commitment that she made in the campaign," added board chairman Ron Margiotta.
The common theme from the members of the board majority, including Chris Malone, was skepticism over Goldman's statements that she voted against the zone plan because of the lack of base assignments and not being on the student assignment committee.
All four board members noted that the resolution that was passed didn't include either of those concerns raised by Goldman. The resolution was written by Hill and Keith Sutton.
Members of the former majority are talking about retaining Margiotta's seat next year and picking up at least one more seat held by the minority faction. This would mean they could move ahead without needing Goldman's support.
“What you really have now is four and four and one,” Tedesco said.
If all five incumbents win next year, you could have this same strained situation playing out until 2013.
Democratic board members aren't declaring that they have a majority. But they're saying a lot nicer things about Goldman.
Sutton said Goldman is acting in the bipartisan spirit of past Republican board members such as Bill Fletcher and Carol Parker who worked with Democrats on student assignment issues.
“Student assignment doesn’t need to be partisan,” Sutton said. “Student assignment has never been a partisan issue. Because it hasn’t, you’ve seen people come together and work across party lines.”