Wake County school board member John Tedesco is called "statesmanlike" in this week's issue of the liberal Independent weekly.
This article by Bob Geary notes Tedesco's willingness to reach out to the Democratic school board members for compromises on issues such as student assignment. Geary also writes that "around here, Tedesco is viewed as a conservative ideologue," but he's being called too moderate by his opponent for the Republican nomination for state schools superintendent.
"While Tedesco is poison for many Democrats, he's also the only Republican school board member who regularly communicates with any of the five Democrats who now constitute the new board majority, after two years of Republican control," Geary writes.
Geary points back to how the controlled-choice plan was first developed.
"Never uncomfortable with contradictions, he was the initial driving force behind the adoption of controlled-choice as a compromise between the address-based plans, with diversity emphasized and which the Democrats liked, and a pure 'neighborhood schools' approach — no diversity — that most Republicans wanted," Geary writes of Tedesco.
Geary also points to Tedesco's efforts at last week's school board meeting to huddle with Democratic board vice chairman Keith Sutton to modify the student assignment directive. While the revised directive didn't go as far as Tedesco wanted for him or the other Republicans to vote yes, changes were made from the original directive.
"Sutton did change his resolution a bit to suggest a hybrid approach that would 'integrate the best practices and strategies' of controlled-choice plans and base-assignment plans," Geary writes. "It's not clear how, or even if, the two seemingly contradictory approaches might be integrated. But if they can, Tedesco could play a key role."
Geary called it "statesmanlike Tedesco at work" when he urged his Democratic colleagues to learn from the mistakes the GOP majority made in quickly moving to enact student assignment changes in 2010.
"Statewide, he says, he's trying to fend off his opponent's charge that he's really a 'progressive Republican,' with moderate tendencies that would cause him to, well, compromise with a Democrat," Geary writes of Tedesco.
Tedesco is running a shoestring campaign against Alexander.
Tedesco says in the article that he's not receiving any salary this year from the N.C. Center for Education Reform that he heads.
"He's had little time to fundraise for it," Geary writes. "And because he's campaigning virtually full-time except for school board business, he's chosen to draw no salary at all from the Center in 2012."
The liberal N.C. Policy Watch has repeatedly attacked Tedesco over the N.C. Center for Education Reform. In the latest blog post today, Rob Schofield writes that it's "a group that’s done much of anything."
Tedesco says in the Indy article that he's living off his school board stipend and his new wife's salary. Combined that's around $50,000 per year.
"And no, he answers, laughing, there is no Art Pope propping him up—no rich Republican donor shoveling money into his campaign or his personal accounts," Geary writes.
Geary writes that Tedesco will "try to restart" the N.C. Center for Education Reform and help with the next school bond issue if he doesn't win the runoff and the general election.