The discussion opened with Losurdo saying her resume is "contextually accurate." She said she was offended that people would say that someone like her with her military background and organizational and communications skills couldn't do the job of overseeing $2 billion in small business loans.
The topic then moved to the recently adopted student assignment plan.
Hill said that "this will be the plan that we will move forward with." He said he "would caution people to not confuse the vote against the plan as not being in favor of the plan."
Hill said he voted no because of "a few missing components," particularly the lack of seat set-asides at high-performing schools for students from low-performing areas.
Hill said it would be "incumbent" on the board to look at the plan going forward and ""smooth out the rough edges"
Next came Losurdo.
"I have always supported the plan," Losurdo said. "I had questions as everyone did. As time went those questions were answered. Had I been on the board, I would have voted yes and when I vote yes I mean yes and when I vote no I mean no."
Losurdo said she would like to look at changing some feeder patterns that are not family friendly.
Hill countered that Losurdo had said shortly before the Oct. 18 board vote that there were questions on the plan so she couldn't vote for it.
Losurdo soon shot back that she wanted "to remind the voters" that Hill had "voted no to a change in the policy that our superintendent doesn't have to have an educational background, as an educator rather, you voted no to hire a search firm to find the very best person to be our superintendent, you voted no to hire Superintendent Tata, you voted no on the new leadership academies that are in my opinion a tremendous step forward for Wake County and then you voted no on Superintendent Tata's bi-partisan assignment plan."
"I didn't vote against hiring a search firm," Hill responded. "I voted against hiring the most expensive search firm."
Hill said they could have spent $19,000 by hiring the N.C. School Boards Association to do the search but instead hired Heidrick & Struggles at $85,000 plus expenses.
On not hiring Tata, Hill said he has fully supported him since he started and wants him to be "widely successful." He said he thought Tata's done a good job, noting he gave him an A- grade.
On the leadership academies, Hill said he voted no because "the details were not fleshed out"
"As board members, our fiduciary responsibility is to have an idea about what things are going to cost, how they're going to be set up and we didn't get any of that information," Hill added.
for instance, Hill said the first time he had heard about the proposed partnership with Peace University on the leadership academies was at Tuesday's board meeting. He said he had talked with a board member from Peace on Thursday and that was also the first time that person had heard about the partnership.
He said as board members they need to have more information in advance so they can ask questions and have a better chance of coming to a consensus.
David Crabtree asked, aside from student assignment, what else are the school board's duties.
Losurdo answered the budget and policy. Hill said would agree somewhat but felt that in the past two years the board has gone away from focusing on the what to doing the how, which he said is staff's job.
During the discussion, Hill brought up how WRAL has streamed the school board meetings live online. Crabtree said the school system has pulled the plug at times.
Moving to the issue of the role of the outside groups in the race, Crabtree asked about the accusations that the Wake County Democratic Party had made on Halloween that "the Wake County GOP and Heather Losurdo lied time and time again about Kevin's statements and votes."
Crabtree asked Losurdo if she had lied about Hill's statements and votes. She answered no.
Crabtree asked Hill if Losurdo had lied and responded that "people representing her campaign may have."
Crabtree asked Hill if he had told outside groups to stop making those kinds of statements.
"I have publicly, countless times on camera and on the radio asked the third parties, the PACs, to back away," Hill said. "I've written a letter to my campaign folks way back in September about the character and integrity of our campaign. If you'll look at my literature, the entire campaign that I can control, we haven't really talked about our opponents."
Crabtree asked Losurdo if she's also told outside groups to back off. She said no because she didn't believe she had too many outside sources.
Crabtree said that statements made by outside groups can be purely negative and can be misleading. Losurdo responded by pointing back to her own campaign literature.
"We continue to run a clean campaign but from the beginning of my announcement in April through Oct. 11, it was all about what Heather Losurdo brings to the table," she said. "Then the attacks started coming from special-interest groups that support Kevin Hill and it got really nasty in the last few days up to Oct. 11.
At that point we made a decision that we needed to start pointing out Mr. Hill's record so that the voters are very well aware of what they will get for another four years if I'm not elected."
Crabtree talked about how the GOP majority had wanted to build a Goldman-proof majority and how school board vice chairman John Tedesco said on Election Night that they were going to help Losurdo win the runoff. They then played an Oct. 12 clip in which Losurdo said she would be an "independent voice" and that "no party or John Tedesco is going to influence me."
Crabtree asked Losurdo if she would be willing to go against the majority like board member Debra Goldman sometimes has done, even when it leads to harsh criticism.
"If it came to a point of voting against what's believed to be the majority, and I guess we're looking at political parties again, I will vote with what I believe is the correct thing to do," she answered.
Crabtree asked them, should they win, what the most important thing the board can do in the next two years.
"The bottom line is always student achievement," Hill answered. "People feel now that student assignment is the topic but it is not. It's the budget, it's funding. You have to find a way to take the funds that we will be allocated and translate that into teaching in the classroom."
Hill added that as an educator he felt he'd better be able to make decisions looking at the intended and unintended outcomes in the classroom. He said that "our challenge is protecting our classrooms with what little money we will have."
"I agree, absolutely have always said it that student achievement is the number one goal for a school system to strive for is higher and higher percentages of student achievement," Losurdo said next. "I disagree that it's always about the money.
The more money we can have is always a good thing. I feel like that in my house and I'm sure everyone else does. Sometimes it's going to take looking at things differently and that doesn't always mean more money."
Losurdo said she has been "in contact with leaders of programs per se that have amazing results for student achievement in different realms such as what we face here in Wake County."
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