Wake County school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman is expressing her unhappiness with the new budget and her support for the changes in board meeting structure.
In a blog post Friday, Goldman writes that she voted against the revised budget adopted earlier this month because she didn't feel that her concerns were answered about the last-minute staff recommended changes. An example she cites is the proposed changes for Project Enlightenment.
"The Budget came up for a vote and I was the only Board member NOT to vote for it," Goldman writes. "There is a lot of work to do, and though it is described as a 'fluid document,' there is a tremendous amount that concerns me, on many topics."
Another concern that Goldman raises is the budget change that will result in booster clubs now paying for the watering of the athletic fields at schools. She's worried that booster clubs might not be able to raise the $12,000 to $16,000 per school to cover the watering costs.
"Will the fields potentially go unwatered and wither and die?" Goldman writes. "This could render them unsafe and unusable for the future."
Goldman has on more than occasion expressed her frustration about the budget process.
But while she's down on the budget, she's happy about the board going to one action meeting and one work session a month. Standing committees were also eliminated.
There used to be two action meetings a month with time set aside for work sessions during the committee of the whole meetings.
But Goldman says the two-hour COW meetings didn't given enough time for discussion and often duplicated what was discussed at the committee meetings.
Goldman writes that having one long work session a month in the board conference room will lead to more conducive discussions.
"The bottom line is that I am in favor of the Board being afforded this opportunity to be able to work together," Goldman writes. "This new plan may just be what we were looking for!"
Critics of the board majority don't like how the changes mean there will only be one public comment per month now. Goldman writes that she has "faith in our Board" that public comment will go beyond the required 30 minutes.
As of late, the board has become stricter about telling people they'll have to speak at the end of the meetings once the 30 minutes are up. By then, many speakers who haven't gone up yet have left.
Whether the board will go back to the days of two-straight hours of public comment, something that was done the first few months after the change in control in December, remains to be seen.
Also in the blog post, Goldman explains her reason for opposing spending $2.4 million to design three new schools. She says the board should have waited until the new assignment plan is developed.