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Outmaneuvering the board minority

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Folks who were hoping that last week's Wake County school board actions were illegal seem to be out of luck.

School board attorney Ann Majestic said the new majority was following board policies when it pushed through a flurry of items at the board table. They showed a better knowledge of Robert's Rules of Order than the minority.

The new board members took advantage of a little used section of board policy to amend the agenda with a simple majority vote. It normally takes a two-third vote.

If you look at policy 1322, it takes two-thirds to amend an agenda after it's adopted. This has been the policy that has traditionally been used for amending agendas.

But the board took advantage of policy 1323, which says only a simple majority is needed to amend the agenda. The key is to amend the agenda before it's adopted, which is what the new majority did last week.

The vote was 5-4 to add the items to the agenda.

Majestic said the majority's actions complied with board policy. She said it's just not often done that way under policy 1323.

Some people who are upset with last week's actions have questioned their legality by saying the majority didn't follow its own official policies.


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Am I mistaken or did some of

Am I mistaken or did some of those "questions about legality" come from implications of mis-doings in news reports, columns, and editorials about the new board? Is there going to be a prominent news article about Ms. Majestic's explanation of the proceedings? It seems to me that the public needs to be fully informed about what has occurred.

The proceedings are in the

The proceedings are in the public domain. Members of the public who wish to be informed can listen to board members questions and objections and the attorney's guidance on these issues.

Yep... it was legal. But

Yep... it was legal. But did it follow the spirit of the Law?

Did it allow parents from both sides of the issue to provide informed feedback on specific resolutions?

Elections are not about detailed laws. If they were, we would have seen the proposed revisions to 6200 with highlights and strikethrough marks. That was never mailed to voters on a postcard! That's why it was a show of strength, not weakness, when it was referred to committee for further discussion.

Parents have been giving feedback....

On all these issues. And the school board refused to listen to them. Nothing was new here. It was long overdue and the pressure had built for a long time for immediate action.

You folks can longer debate issues of academic performance because you can it into the ground. Strange how no one uses that world class schools rhetoric anymore. Perhaps you can tell that to the 45.8% of students who don't graduate.



Three ways to discredit a governmental action, in order of increasing desperation:

(1)  It was facially illegal -- i.e. against the law as written.

(2)  It was against the framer's intent -- i.e. against the law as the drafters intended it to be.

(3)  It was against the "spirit of the law" -- i.e. against the law as you think the drafters should have intended it.

Note the gap between (2) and (3) -- nobody's saying "Well, the legislature really meant for the law to cover meetings made before the members were sworn into office."  Instead, they're saying "Well, it should cover those anyway."

If the GA had wanted the law to cover meeting among elected but not seated members,  it could have easily drafted the law that way itself.  But, likely since this same law allows incoming GA members to hold similar meetings, they chose not to.

"out of luck"

That's how I'd sum up the status quo agenda. Out of luck and game over!
Now get on board and let's do something good for the children of Wake County!

policies were interpreted by attorney

From the early part of the 12/1 broadcast, I inferred that the attorney was actively involved in guiding the board and providing opinion and information. She appeared to be an unbiased and active referee of the proceedings. Consequently, if someone claims illegality in the actions of the majority, I am afraid it is more an attack on the attorney than the majority.

In sum, I would venture that the putsch went through efficiently and was vetted to be in conformance with policies.

You're right...

Ann Majestic was very much involved from the start, and answered several "point of rule" questions from Keith Sutton especially.

As for cries of foul play? Just another case of people accusing without even knowing what went on.


This weekend, I received a play-by-play description of the proceedings from one of the board members and now better understand the following key point:

The outcome of this meeting was not pre-determined! For instance, if Ann Majestic had advised that a 2/3 vote was required to add agenda items (rather than a simple majority 5/9), none of this would have been possible.

A calculated strategy was required, for sure, but also a fair amount of "good luck" was involved in what Ms. Majestic described as a very "gray area" in the law.

This was an all-or-nothing moment for this new Board. I can see why they came across as "bullying" to some. Since most people could not possibly undertand the subtleties of what took place (especially when what they gather from the media is pure speculation), they would only see a group of newbies pushing through a list of resolutions without adequate study.

This Board majority has an agenda that their constituents have asked them to put into place! If they missed this window of opportunity to get Ron in place as Chair and to put these key issues on the table, you can bet that Mr. Hill would never have allowed them to happen. So...most likely we would have been forced to wait until June to even start the reading/review process, much less take any action.

Go big or go home, I always say. The families of Wake County have waited long enough for dramatic changes and I for one do not support wasting any more time.

Go team!


Few people understand that as chairman, Mr. Hill could have stalled many of these items from ever reaching the agenda.


What they did was very gutsy - and I am in full support.  It's very refreshing to see elected officials start fulfilling promises on day 1.


No more business as usual in Wake County - there is much to do, and no time to waste. 

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.