The Wake County school system is a big issue for the three Republican candidates running in the District 2 primary for county commissioner.
Former Commissioner Phil Jeffreys, who had run-ins with the old school board during his previous tenure, is hoping to regain his seat. His GOP challengers are former Garner Alderman Phil Matthews and Raleigh real estate agent Champ Claris.
The winner will take on Democratic incumbent Lindy Brown in November. At stake could be which party controls the board of commissioners during a time in which the new school board majority will be trying to implement community schools.
Jeffreys could run into trouble with some voters for his support of operating the entire district on a multi-track year-round calendar to save on capital costs.
"Using published 2005 numbers, WCPSS could save over 38,000 seats utilizing a multi track year-round system," Jeffreys writes on his website. "This is a significant statistic."
Jeffreys is portraying himself as ahead of his time. He notes that all the statements on his website about more vocational schools, greater use of year-round schools and dividing the county into community attendance areas were what was written during his 2005 campaign.
Jeffreys was endorsed in the GOP Primary by the liberal Independent weekly.
"Jeffreys, who calls himself a young 72, isn't afraid to say that the Religious Right has too much influence in the Republican Party, which should resist policies based on dogma rather than facts," according to the Indy. "He could be a refreshing, if cantankerous voice on the Wake Commissioners board should he be elected over Brown."
Matthews doesn't go into quite as much discussion about schools as Jeffreys on his website.
"I will work with the school board to insure children in Wake County get the education they deserve," Matthews writes on his website. "I support year round schools, but not that they should be mandatory. I support community school assignment that encourages parental involvement. "
Claris, who unsuccessfully ran for Raleigh City Council last year, is joining his primary opponents in calling himself a fiscal conservative. He's stressing his real estate background as helping should he be elected.
"It is a huge responsibility of the Wake County Commissioners to support our school board through funding as well as helping in the site selection and construction management of new schools," Claris writes on his website. "As a real estate agent I see everyday the importance a strong public school system plays in attracting talented people and their families to our area. As a commissioner, I will forge a strong working relationship with our school board and will strive to make our public schools a place where our children thrive along with our teachers."
Click here for Thursday's article by Thomas Goldsmith about the race.