The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children is trading barbs again with Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton.
In the latest dispute, CCCAAC President Calla Wright accuses Sutton of "hiding" from the group for not answering its requests to meet with him. Sutton declined the invitation, citing "the tone and tenor of your last meeting that I was invited to," but agreed to answer the group's questions.
CCCAAC had a long list of questions, many involving what more will be done to help Walnut Creek Elementary School. Questions also dealt with topics such as why Sutton is supporting the use of performance pay for teachers, whether any magnet schools will lose their status and when will revisions to the student assignment policy be presented.
While it hasn't happened yet, the student assignment directive called for revisions to be made to Policy 6200.
As the District 4 rep covering Southeast Raleigh, the CCCAAC has had harsh words to say about Sutton on several issues.
Let's follow the exchange.
Here's an email that Wright sent to Sutton on Aug. 16:
TO: Keith Sutton, WCPSS School Board Member
FROM:Coalition Of Concerned Citizens For African American Children
RE: Meeting Request
On behalf of the Coalition Of Concerned Citizens For African American Chidlren, we would like to invite you to an open meeting to discuss recent changes/newly proposed changes to policies/procedures of the Wake county Public School. This dialogue will give community members, parents and concerned citizens an opportunity to hear from our leader regarding these issues.
Please check your calendar and submit 3 dates for us to choose from. We look forward to having this open dialogue with our school board representative.
Thank you in advance for this giving this urgent matter your immediate attention.
The CCCAAC resent the invitation on Aug. 20.
Here's the CCCAAC email to Sutton on Saturday:
The CCCAAC have submitted two email invitations requesting a meeting with you however you have ignored both request. As an elected official and public servant you are required to respond to all communications from the taxpayers and voters who elected you to the Wake County School Board. Your recent vote for new chnages are of great concern to us and we need to meet with you.
We look forward to hearing from you, our elected servant.
Thank you for giving this urgent request your immediate attention.
Here's the response that Sutton sent back to Wright later on Saturday:
Thank you for your invitation. Given the tone and tenor of your last meeting that I was invited to, I will pass on this opportunity.
Here's the reply from Wright to Sutton on Saturday:
Thank you for your email and as an elected servant we feel it is our duty to hold you accountable for your actions as it relates to the education of our children.
It appears you are intimidated and are not able to address the questions concerns from our community without prior preparation. We are simply holding "you" , Mr. Sutton, accountable for your actions.
Our community is known for being silent and when a group questions your actions or do not agree with your vote you tend to use "tone and tenor" as your excuse.
Are you not capable of answering questions without seeking help from your fellow constituents.?
Are you afraid of being held accountable for your actions?
Do you need your supporters to help answer questions because you can not answer us? Why are you hiding?
Mr. Sutton, since you cannot answer our questions because you are using "the tone of our last meeting" as an excuse, then who will answer us?
Thank you for giving this urgent matter your immediate attention!
Here's the reply Sutton sent to Wright on Sunday.
I am not sure what gives you the impression that I am intimidated simply by your invitation. Nor do I agree with your assertion that "our community" is silent. I regularly hear from various segments of our community and have spoken to several groups, churches, and individuals in recent weeks, with more in the coming days and weeks. During these discussions, I have not been assisted by anyone, so I am not sure what "fellow constituents you are referring to
Here's the reply from Wright to Sutton on Sunday.
Thank you for your response however you did not answer the question/concern regarding our need to hold you accountable for your recent vote and other board actions. WE want answers from you because we voted for you and we are taxpayers who need to talk with our representative.
Do we need to request a meeting with other board members regarding our concerns for your vote and actions?
Thank you for your urgent response.
Here's Sutton's reply to Wright on Sunday:
You are welcome to request a meeting with whomever you like, but they can't nor will they attempt to answer any questions regarding my votes and actions.
What recent vote is it that you have a question about? I have no problem answering any questions you may have. Feel free to submit any that you have. I will be happy to provide an answer and then we can end this communication. I do not plan to continue to go back and forth with you.
Here's Wright's reply to Sutton Sunday:
Thank you for your response and CCCAAC wanted to inform you that our communication will not end and we will continue to monitor your actions in an effort to ensure equal education opportunities for all children and to get a response from our District 4 Representative. Please remember, we are voters and taxpayers whose voices will be heard and not ignored by any elected officials.
The CCCAAC 's Question No. 1- Why did you vote for teachers to receive pay for performance when we have a large number of segregated schools?
No. 2-What are your long term goals for improving student achievement in District 4?
No. 4-Rumor has it--Walnut Creek will be a K-8 school next year, please verify.
No. 5- Walnut Creek mission statement-Students will leave Walnut Creek Elem having been prepared to engage in the most rigorous coursework at the middle school level.
According to the recent EOG Reading scores-40% of the 5th grade students did not meet proficieny and can you tell CCCAAC as our District 4 Representative, how will you handle this urgent Matter?
No. 6 Will you consider adding any new Magnet Schools in Southeast Raleigh such as Walnut Creek or will this school remain a high poverty/ segregated school?
No. 7 Are any of our magnet schools in jeopardy of losing their magnet status?
No. 8 Are you going to add any updated technology courses at Southeast Raleigh High School? Do you have plans for making SE Raleigh a Leadership Academy?
No.9 When will we get information on the revision of Policy 6200- Student Assignment?
10. When will you bring the draft to our community for input?
Thank you for providing the CCCAAC your prompt response. Additional questions/concerns will submitted on a continuous basis.
Coalition Of Concerned Citizens For African American Children
Additional questions will be forwarded.