The school board's discussion of funding Leesville Road Middle School's conversion to year-round saw some sharp words thrown out.
Beverley Clark kicked things off Tuesday by saying they need to base this year's budget on the immediate situation facing Wake. She said the growth now facing Wake doesn't demand converting LRMS, especially when several year-round middle schools are under capacity.
Clark said it especially makes sense to delay conversion because the state Supreme Court hasn't ruled yet on the year-round case. She expects consent forms will have to go out.
"For this year, why would we spend the money to make the conversion and not wait?" Clark said.
But Lori Millberg said there has to be a point when decisions made by the board are final. She said you can't bringing up issues to see if you'll get a different result.
If they delayed conversion, Millberg said she can't imagine what would happen to the families whose applications were accepted to enter or leave LRMS.
"It’s very, very unfair to put this community in turmoil," Millberg said.
Since the board had voted 6-2 in November to convert LRMS, chairwoman Rosa Gill asked if it could be brought up again on Tuesday.
Board attorney Ann Majestic said it's possible to discuss it as budget issue. She compared it to Congress passing enabling legislation but then not funding a program.
Ron Margiotta said removing the funding for the conversion would allow him to vote for the budget.
"I can’t support a conversion of a school when it’s just not necessary this year," Margiotta said.
Margiotta, like Clark, said they could always convert LRMS in the future if the need is greater.
Eleanor Goettee asked if Asst. Supt. Chuck Dulaney could discuss the "compelling reasons" for converting LRMS if they were going to bring up the issue again.
Horace Tart asked how much had been spent so far on conversion.
Chief Business Officer David Neter said they're planning on reusing carts from other year-round schools. (That's $100,000 of the $250,000 figure cited by CCLP in saying going forward with conversion would waste money.)
Dulaney said the only money spent so far has been postage letting people know if they've been accepted in or out of LRMS.
Patti Head pointed out that the teacher transfer fair had already been held and that they had spent a lot of time on the issue.
But Clark said the board didn't have the updated capacity figures for each school when they approved the conversion. She said the need for conversion is less compelling with all the families that will not give consent this year.
“If this is not a compelling need why would we spend the funds if it’s not needed at this time?" Clark said.
The board then voted 5-3 against removing the funding from the budget. Clark, Margiotta and Tart were on the losing side.