Wake board candidate leaves race

October 19, 2009 8:28:28 PM PDT
Wake County School Board District 2 candidate Dr. Cathy Truitt dropped out of the race Monday.She is withdrawing from the race for a school board seat which represents Garner and Fuquay-Varina.

Truitt, a retired educator, and John Tedesco, a non-profit executive, received the most votes of the four candidates that ran in the Wake County School Board District 2 election held two weeks ago.

Tedesco won more votes than Truitt, but he failed to hit the 50 percent plus mark needed to avoid a runoff. Both candidates campaigned against the district's forced busing and reassignment.

Since the election, Truitt has weighed her options and said Monday she won't try and overcome Tedesco's lead.

Truitt was against mandatory bussing for economic diversity, but she also said low-income neighborhood schools would fail without magnet and special programs.

"We cannot allow our schools to revert to forced re-segregation," Truitt said.

Truitt's concession appears to mean that all four candidates endorsed by the Wake County Republican Party have won.

Todesco will now likely break a 4-4 split on the board and help determine how rapidly Wake moves toward neighborhood schools.

But Tedesco said Monday he thought bussing changes would be gradual and not necessarily complete by the fall of 2010.

"Nobody's going in there running rough-shod," Tedesco said. "Nobody's going in there to do anything to harm our system. Nobody is going in there without a clear plan to engage our system and our entire community to create a unified vision to move forward."

However, Truitt's announcement is raising lots of questions. Her concession comes too late to take her name off the November ballot.

"The Board of Elections has told me I still have an election to run," Tedesco said. "I still need to get my voters to the polls. They still need to come out and vote for me."

And on Monday evening, the Wake County Elections Board still had no paperwork of an official withdrawal.

If she does not file paper work to withdraw, and she got more votes, she would win the school board seat.

If she does file to withdraw, and she still got more votes than Tedesco, the existing school board, who favors bussing, would appoint a replacement.

If Tedesco wins, he will join four others to form a majority which does not favor mandatory busing.

The election is November 3.

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