Late Tuesday night, the Wake County school board voted 5-4 along party lines to pass on first reading the reinstatement of the student achievement, finance, policy and facilities committees.
Under the vote, which will still require a second reading for adoption, the committees would be reevaluated after six months. Left unresolved Tuesday was the future of the economically disadvantaged student performance task force.
Democratic school board chairman Kevin Hill proposed keeping the ED task force but rolling it into the student achievement committee. That proposal drew opposition from Republican school board member John Tedesco, who has headed the ED task force since its formation in 2010.
Tedesco said that the proposal would "marginalize" the task force. He said the task force has been shining a light an issues that wouldn't normally be addressed.
Tedesco said having a separate committee has helped keep the task force strong by encouraging so many of the community members to keep coming back.
Hill denied he was trying to marginalize the task force. He said he believes that having the heads of the student achievement committee and the task force working in tandem could produce a "more powerful voice" on education issues.
Board members agreed to revisit the future of the ED task force on Feb. 21 while pushing forward with reinstating the committees.
As you guys recall, there's been a lot of debate over the past year-and-a-half about the standing committees. The Republican board members have argued that the committees are duplicative of what the whole board does and takes up board and staff time. Democratic members have argued that the committees do valuable work.
When the board voted last year to suspend the standing committees, only the ED task force was left in operation.
The Democratic members proposed Tuesday that they waive second reading, which would require a two-thirds vote. But that motion failed because it only got a 5-4 vote with all the Democrats supporting waiving second reading and the Republicans voting no.
At that point, Republican board member Debra Goldman proposed one of her many motions to adjourn the meeting. The motion was defeated.
The Democrats then settled for passing it on first reading only. The Democrats voted yes and the Republicans voted no.