As noted in today's article, Margiotta is proud of the actions the board has taken in the past two years on issues such as ending the diversity policy while Evans says he's ruined Wake's national reputation. The fact that Democrats have to oust Margiotta to have any chance of regaining control is why so much money and attention has been poured into District 8 by critics of the board majority.
"If they get rid of me, they have control of the school board," Margiotta said.
Margiotta says his goals are to implement neighborhood schools and expand program offerings at non-magnet schools. Once he's done that, he said he'll be ready to "go ride off into the sunset."
in addition to opposing the actual changes, Evans sharply criticizes the way Margiotta and the board majority went about implementing them.
“He’s been polarizing, bullying, and not well informed on matters,” Evans said.
But Margiotta said he wanted to avoid a repeat of his first six years in the board minority when he said they talked and talked but didn't accomplish anything.
“Somebody could criticize our process, which is justified,” Margiotta said. “But if we hadn’t approached it in that manner, things would never have happened. We took action. I’m proud of that fact.”
Evans says that the board majority in 2009 tapped into justified anger about issues such as reassignment and lack of stability. But she says they've gone too far.
“Families didn’t want to see this kind of extreme change,” Evans said. “They wanted to see relief from being moved around. They didn’t want the board to bring in a political agenda.”
Evans said she wants to make sure Wake is ready to deal with the growth that's coming and that the district will have adequate funding.
Evans said another priority is to provide stability in student assignment while still promoting balanced schools. She said that balance could include some mixture of socioeconomic diversity and/or student achievement diversity.
“They gave the message that if you want stability, you can’t have diversity in assignment,” Evans said. “That’s not true.”
Margiotta charges that electing Evans would turn back the clock in a negative way.
“If the majority changed, we would go back to the old assignment plan that created busing for diversity,” Margiotta said.
Margiotta says he supports the magnet school program. But he wants more of a balance in programming between the "whipped cream" offered at magnet schools inside the Raleigh Beltline and the "broccoli" provided to schools in other parts of the county.
Evans agrees that school leaders should look at improving academic offerings in non-magnet schools. But the parent of two magnet school graduates warns that weakening the magnet program would mean “shooting ourselves in the foot.”
“We need to find a delicate balance,” Evans said. “The people who are promoting this agenda are looking out for the benefit of a few people instead of the needs of the school system."