Readers of this blog will definitely be interested in what former Superintendent Bill McNeal and former school board member Tom Oxholm have to say in their new book.
"A School District's Journey to Excellence: Lessons From Business and Education" is primarily geared toward school administrators. But as noted in today's article, Wake residents will be interested in what they say about topics such as diversity, reassignment, the school transportation fraud case and the value of the business community.
For instance, McNeal and Oxholm credit the business community with getting the bond passed in 2006.
"Passing this bond would require a tax increase and the critics fought hard to defeat the referendum," they write. "In the end, the critics were over-matched — we had business on our side.”
They discuss it further when citing the value of Friends of Wake County in lobbying the public to support bonds. They said the group helped counter critics who tried "to cause an uninformed voter to think that maybe it would be safer to vote "No" so as to send the school leaders a message."
"The school district’s leaders saying it was 'for the children' did not resonate with voters in 1999," they write. "In 2006, what worked was telling the voters that the schools had to be built and that bonds were the cheapest way to pay for it. Of course, getting out that message cost approximately $500,000 of privately contributed funds. Thank you, Friends of Wake County."
Their take on the lingering impact of the school transportation fraud case will probably draw some reaction.
"While our public rightfully held us accountable and rightfully demanded that no such event occur again, our response to the fraud did much to bolster the public’s confidence," they write. "Evidence of this is that the superintendent’s second in command at the time of the fraud is now superintendent of the district, in part, on the strength of how he and the district handled the fraud investigation and pledged to improve school district accountability."
There are plenty other interesting tidbits in the book, which McNeal said took 3 1/2 years to complete.
BTW, they'll hold a book signing at 7 p.m. on July 30 at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.