Wake County School Board

School bus
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina House has voted down a bill that would have handed over school construction and maintenance responsibilities to the Wake County Commissioners.

The bill would have taken that responsibility away from the Wake County School Board. Supporters argued that the county commissioners have more experience in school construction. Opponents warned that the Legislature should not set a precedent in a local dispute.

John Tedesco
Wake County Public Schools

Today was the final day to file to run in the election for Wake County School Board, and at least one prominent incumbent will be leaving the Board.

John Tedesco has been the highest-profile board member since he was elected in 2009. He led the Republican effort to end Wake County’s student assignment plan that diversified schools based on family income.

Tedesco, a Republican, announced earlier this week that he will not seek a second term. Democrats re-took the majority on the Board in 2011 and scrapped the choice plan that replaced the diversity plan.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools police patch
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Wake County’s sheriff, Donnie Harrison, is urging the School Board to create its own police force.  Harrison made the comments as part of a report to the Wake School Board on school security.

He says school security issues are more important now, six months after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

James Merrill
Wake County Public Schools

As homecomings go, this one was slightly delayed for James Merrill. He spent 16 years in a variety of administrative posts in the Wake County Schools in the 1980s and ‘90s, rising as high as associate superintendent. Once he became the top candidate earlier this month after a series of interviews and public events, it took another few weeks to iron out the contract details.

He says it was worth the wait.

Wake School Bus
Dave DeWitt

Tonight, the Wake County School Board will continue its discussions on hiring a superintendent.

It’s been more than two weeks since the three finalists for Wake Superintendent visited the district for a hectic few days of interviews and public appearances. Wake School Board Chair Keith Sutton initially indicated a new superintendent would be hired within a few days, but delays have pushed it back to tonight, at the earliest.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Being on a school board is a little like being the head chef at the local Applebee’s. You don’t get to choose the ingredients and it’s not your recipe, but if someone doesn’t like the Bourbon Street Steak, you’re going to hear about it.

In other words, school boards in North Carolina have relatively little power but plenty of responsibility. And it’s been that way for a long time.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

State lawmakers in the Senate have approved a bill that would change how leaders of the Wake County school board are elected.

Senate Bill 325 would scrap the current boundaries for board seats. It would also move board elections from odd to even-numbered years, when voters choose their representatives in Congress and the General Assembly.

School bus
Dave DeWitt

The search for a superintendent for the Wake County Schools enters an important phase today, as public meetings begin.

The meetings serve as an opportunity for anyone and everyone to express what qualities they’d like to see in the next superintendent. The meetings will last three days and include stops in Cary and Raleigh.

The Wake County school board has a new chairman and another new student assignment plan; Chapel Hill is embroiled in its own fight over reassignment; and the legislature and the State school board are tussling over virtual charter schools. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Education Reporter Dave DeWitt about these and other education topics.

On November 6th, North Carolina voters will elect a new governor. They'll also make selections for Council of State offices. Isaac-Davy Aronson has this look at the two candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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