The Wake County school board adopted its 2011 Legislative Agenda tonight after some unusual machinations.
After various motions, the board essentially adopted the draft agenda presented by staff. The big difference is that the board did decide to add a request that the General Assembly pass a law allowing the school board chair to vote on all issues.
The process for getting to the final outcome was convoluted.
The staff proposed revising the draft agenda to drop the item about Point 3 in the healthy students section because the rules and regs for student participation in sports are being changed.
The staff also proposed cleaning up Point 6 under 21st Century systems. They wanted to more clearly say that they want calendar flexibility to either have 180 days of instruction or at least 1,000 hours of instruction, not necessarily both.
The reason, staff said, is that they'd like the flexibility of making up snow days by extending hours on school days without tacking on extra days.
School board member Keith Sutton proposed accepting the revised agenda along with adopting the recommendations made Monday by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. At the request of board members, they didn't include the recommendation of expanding the school year to 190 days since it contradicted the calendar flexibility item of 180 days or 1,000 hours.
School board member Chris Malone proposed adding a friendly amendment to Sutton's motion to include allowing the board chair to vote. Some board members had thought the issue would wait until at least March 15 but Malone cited the need to get it in by the March 31 bill drafting deadline.
Sutton turned down Malone's friendly amendment.
When it became unfriendly, Deborah Prickett seconded Malone's motion. In the ensuing discussion, board members realized they had boxed themselves in.
School board member John Tedesco complained that now he'd be unable to vote on the Public School Forum recommendations one at a time. Some he liked, he said, others he had questions about.
Prickett raised the same concerns as Tedesco.
Malone was told by board attorney Jonathan Blumberg that if his motion was voted down he wouldn't be able to bring it up this evening unless the entire legislative agenda was voted down. When Malone tried to withdraw his motion, he was told he couldn't because they had already begun to discuss it.
The vote to pass Malone's motion went 5-4 with school board chairman Ron Margiotta breaking the tie. Tedesco voted no while board member Carolyn Morrison voted yes.
Next came the vote on the entire agenda, which now included Malone's and Sutton's additions. The vote went 5-3 against.
With the legislative agenda now voted down, Tedesco called for a new vote. This one included the changes recommended by staff and the board chair issue. This passed 5-3 when Morrison crossed party lines.
While Morrison didn't like all the things on the legislative agenda, she did like enough of them that she said they need to pass something.