At least three of the five Wake County school board members whose seats are on the ballot in October plan to run for office.
School board members Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton have now joined board chairman Ron Margiotta in saying they plan to run next year. Board member Carolyn Morrison said she hasn't decided yet on running next year and board member Anne McLaurin has not indicated whether she plans to seek re-election.
“I’m proud of the school system," Hill said. "It’s my community service. It’s an opportunity to share some of my experience.”
Both Sutton and Morrison were appointed to their seats in 2009 to fill vacancies so voters haven't had the chance yet to signal their support at the ballot box.
Members of the original Republican board majority hope to re-elect Margiotta and pick up at least one more seat to establish undisputed control. They want to be in a position where they don't have to rely on the vote of board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman.
Margiotta has previously publicly predicted taking both Hill's and Morrison's seats. Hill took exception to those comments. The comments were made back in August when Margiotta was still planning on retiring from the board next year.
“I would wonder about the propriety of the board chairman making partisan predictions and hoping he can take another board member’s seat," Hill said. "I’m not sure how much it fits in with our Code of Ethics.”
The Democratic minority wants to win all five seats to gain the majority.
Complicating the situation is that the school board will have to draw up new board election district boundaries that will be used for the next decade. Board members said they haven't had any discussion on redistricting yet but expect to get to it by early next year.
The new districts would need to be finalized before candidates can file for office in July. If a lawsuit is filed, the current districts might be used in 2011.
There has been speculation, particularly on the part of supporters of the old diversity policy, that attorney Thomas Farr was hired by the board because of his experience helping state Republicans in redistricting cases.
Margiotta said he's not sure how whether Farr will be able to spend any time on school board redistricting because he'll be involved with helping Republicans in the General Assembly. The General Assembly will also be involved with drawing up new election districts.