In an interview this morning on The Rick & Donna Martinez Show on WPTF, Hill said the student assignment plan is "workable," but he voted no because of the "few missing components in the model." He pointed to the lack of seat set asides at high-performing schools and the lack of permanent outreach efforts to explain the model to parents.
"I think there will have to be some changes made, but I totally disagree with what I'm continually bombarded with daily that should I be re-elected that we're going to throw this plan out and go back to the old assignment plan," Hill said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. This will be our plan. We have to work on some of the rough edges."
Rick Martinez asked Hill what he thought of Losurdo's approach of not having seat asides but instead focusing on improving the low-achieving schools. Hill said he disagreed with that approach because of the expense of fixing those schools, pointing to the additional $1 million that Walnut Creek Elementary received compared to other elementary schools.
Rick Martinez asked if that meant Hill preferred busing students around than creating high-poverty neighborhood schools.
"We wouldn't be busing those students around because it is a choice plan," Hill answered. "What I'm advocating is that we do have seat set asides should parents choose to have their kids attend those schools. We have a large number of students now who ride a bus a long time every day by choice going to magnets.
But if those seats aren't set aside then those parents don't have that opportunity so no I wouldn't be advocating busing someone, forcing anyone being bused anywhere. It is a choice program. The parents would have to pick that school."
Rick Martinez asked if parental choice resulted in a high-poverty school would he support providing additional funding. Hill answered "without a doubt"
Donna Martinez asked if Hill would support raising the property tax rate to provide additional school funding.
"If the county commissioners feel that's the last resort, I think I would because we owe it to our children," Hill answered. "Wake County has had an excellent school system over the years and it's our obligation to continue to provide an excellent opportunity for all of our children."
Pointing to this recent Hill mailer, Donna Martinez asked if the board was partisan before the Republican majority took over in 2009. Hill said "I don't believe it was."
"I believe partisanship has been inserted into the board and we need to put that horse back in the barn," Hill said.
Donna Martinez asked if the board would be partisan if Democrats are in the majority. Hill said "I hope not."
"The Board of Education needs to be non-partisan," Hill added. "Third-graders don't know what Democrats and Republicans are and they don't know they deserve a good education. It's our responsibility to provide that and it should not fall along party lines."
Donna Martinez asked what were Hill's concerns about Losurdo.
Hill said it was "her lack of appearance" and how "partisan" it was when she stepped down as president of the Northern Wake Republican Club the day she announced her candidacy.
Donna Martinez asked if Hill was saying Losurdo is political and he is not. He answered yes.
Earlier in the interview, Hill was asked to grade Superintendent Tony Tata's performance. Hill said he would give Tata an "A-" grade, saying he's "done a good job."
Hill will be back on WPTF at 2 p.m. to be interviewed by Bill LuMaye, who has been an outspoken supporter of Losurdo.