Ron Margiotta is finding out the hard way that every word he says in public will be closely scrutinized now that he's chairman of the Wake County school board.
As noted in today's article, Margiotta is clarifying the remarks he made at Thursday's Northern Wake Republican Club meeting about his support for slitting up the school district. He's already had to defend the "here come the animals out of the cages" remark that he had said in passing at the last school board meeting.
In the past, Margiotta didn't have people tracking his every word when he was the lone member of the board minority. But now people are following him around to hear what he says, including Thursday night's GOP meeting.
"There’s a big difference between thinking in what goes on in Zebulon and what goes on at the southwestern part of Cary – big difference,” Margiotta said at the Thursday meeting, which was videotaped by WRAL. “They should have their own school districts or at least the assignment zones and have a certain amount of autonomy.”
His remarks led people to wonder if dissolution of the district was something that Margiotta might try to implement.
But Marigotta said Friday he was only giving his personal opinion in favor of breaking up the district, something he's long supported. But he said he's not pushing to do so because he doesn't think the General Assembly would support the change.
"It's something that's never going to happen," Margiotta said of breaking up the district. "It would never be approved by the State of North Carolina."
Even if Margiotta asked the board to support it, board member John Tedesco said he'd never support a breakup. He noted that with the current 5-4 balance, it would never go anywhere unless he supported deconsolidation.
Tedesco said breaking up Wake would significantly increase costs for taxpayers and, based on the use of municipal resources, lead to financial and academic inequities among the different districts.
But Tedesco was quick to add that the issue of breaking up the district has never been discussed by members of the board majority.
Tedesco, Margiotta and other members of the board majority are instead focusing on passing the community-based school assignment resolution.
Tedesco said the new zones would provide more flexibility, more stability for families and more efficient use of resources to provide an equitable education around the county. For instance, he said that some schools could open for class while others are closed during inclement weather.
“I truly believe the merger 30 years ago was the right thing to do,” Tedesco said. “It will allow us to have these zones.”