School board election deciding factor?

October 6, 2009 3:26:40 AM PDT
Wake County Public Schools' controversial soci-economic diversity policy is facing a big challenge in Tuesday's election.It could change the racial make-up of classrooms all across North Carolina's largest school system.

Wake County's diversity policy was once heralded by educators across the country.

The policy allows the school system to bus students to different schools to create a socio-economic balance throughout the county.

Supporters say ending the program would re-segregate schools. Opponents say the policy makes poor children suffer through long bus rides.

Now, it's up to voters to pick who will continue or possibly end the policy.

There are four seats open on the Wake County school board, but none in the district where many kids are bussed out.

Supporters of the current policy gathered to rally behind it Monday, but the opposition did not go unheard. After a news conference with community leaders, opponents made sure they voiced their opinions.

"This is not about racism this is about choice," opponent Bill Randall said. "This is about parental choice."

The crowd of supporters, which included business leaders and elected officials (past and present), stood in support of Wake's diversity policy.

Although supporters did not endorse individual candidates, several of the candidates, whose names are on the ballot, were present. The are hoping the support will turn into votes.

"We are competing with people from all areas and all walks of life, so we need diversity in all areas of Wake County," said Marion Robinson, pastor and Wake diversity supporter. "It is a system that is working. If it's not broken then I don't think we should try to fix it."

Those against the policy prefer community schools, putting more resources into those with higher needs in lower income areas.

"We are abandoning the children by leaps and bounds," said John Tedesco, Wake County School Board District 2 candidate. "We are sending these children into a life that is destitute for poverty. We don't help these children by hiding them in numbers elsewhere."

The Wake County Board of Elections is hoping for more voters starting at 6:30 a.m. when the polls open.

To view a list of candidates for Cary and Raleigh, click here.

To view a list of candidates for Angier, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon, click here.

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