The new Democratic members of the Wake County school board were working behind the scenes on delaying the new student assignment plan.
As noted in today's article, a public records request shows that on Dec. 12, board member Jim Martin emailed this message to fellow board members Susan Evans and Christine Kushner. It contained this draft resolution on delaying the assignment plan by one year.
Martin asked the other two board members to keep the resolution quiet so they could "bat ideas around ourselves without the outside pressure."
In an interview Monday, Martin called the email an example of good governance because it allowed them to discuss what steps might be needed if the plan was delayed. He said the concerns raised in the resolution, such as the cost of the plan and impact on demographics, are still legitimate issues that need to be addressed,
Martin said the resolution, which he said was never shared with anyone but the three new members, never went forward because of two issues.
One, Martin pointed to the notices of initial assignments that went out in November. Two, he said they wanted to work in good faith with Superintendent Tony Tata and staff to address their concerns.
"Telling 100,000 students, oops the assignments aren't real wouldn't be right," Martin said.
Kushner said it was decided soon that the resolution shouldn't be implemented.
“We talked about it, and it died pretty quick,” Kushner said in an interview Monday. “I think it would have been the wrong decision to have done that.”
Evans did not return calls Monday.
Tata pointed to the Dec. 12 message and resolution in his Sunday email message to Kushner and Evans. He called it a "recent revelation" because he wasn't informed that it had been worked on.
Republican board member Debra Goldman was particularly critical.
"It's becoming clear that the three new board members and the chairman had knowledge of a secret draft resolution and the intent was to keep it private from us Republicans," Goldman said. "So, I can certainly understand Supt. Tata's concerns."
Martin said he disagreed with calling the message or the resolution "secret."
"I challenge the assertion that somehow it was secret," Martin said. "By that definition, any message sent between two or three board members would be secret. That's baloney."