Is today's vote on returning the Lacy to Stough nodes a case of political payback or a righting of a wrong by the old Wake County school board?
As noted in today's article, families in the three Lacy Elementary nodes worked hard to back members of the new school board majority who are poised to reverse the assignment today.
New school board member Chris Malone said the campaign contributions had no impact on his support for sending the students back to Lacy. He said returning the nodes to Lacy is in keeping with the community schools model being advocated by the new majority.
"It was their community school," Malone said of the Lacy nodes. "It was the right thing to do. We righted a wrong."
Malone said he felt it was "inappropriate" how Stough parents had lobbied the old board for the Lacy nodes. In addition to helping fill the school, the Stough parents wanted the nodes to help reduce the percentage of low-income students.
Malone said the board would address the Stough capacity issue as part of a long-term plan for helping the school.
School board chairman Ron Margiotta also stood by the plan to move the students back to Lacy, which had gotten a tentative 5-4 vote last week.
"I used (Lacy reassignment) as the poster child of everything that was wrong with the assignment system,” Margiotta said. “Stough is one of the schools that has the highest percentage of base students that have moved out for magnet schools. How do you let your school lose all of their base students?"
But critics of the new board see the Lacy moves as payback for the support the nodes gave to the new board majority.
Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association of N.C., worked hard to elect the new members after his kids were reassigned from Lacy to Stough.
"Now, it appears, the new and far-right, Republican-backed (and undoubtedly non-union-friendly) School Board members will pay Cope back for his support by switching his node back to Lacy over the objection of the member representing the district in which both schools are located," wrote Schofield, a former Stough parent, last week.
(You'll note in the story that we do mention that N&O Publisher Orage Quarles is on the board of directors of the N.C. Justice Center, which established N.C. Policy Watch. Despite what some of you conspiracy theorists might think, I didn't know until it was pointed out recently on the blog that Quarles is on the group's board.)
N.C. Policy Watch is also a member of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition. Another GISW member is the Stough Elementary PTA. A number of Stough parents have become GSIW leaders.
Former Stough PTA President Mary Kelley is scheduled to be a speaker at an April 22 GSIW forum. In today's article, Kelley accused the new board majority of giving "preferential treatment" to the Lacy nodes.