The Wake County Board of Elections wanted guidance on whether a runoff between Cathy Truitt and John Tedesco must go forward even though Truitt said she wanted to withdraw.
Tedesco got the most votes in the school board race earlier this month, but he didn't get enough of a majority to win outright. Truitt filed the paperwork for a runoff, but then officially dropped out last week saying she'd underestimated Tedesco's support and that calling for a runoff was a mistake.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections said once the runoff process has been started, it cannot be cancelled under state election law. It ruled that a candidate doesn't have the power to stop a runoff by withdrawing.
Whoever wins the District 2 seat potentially has the deciding vote on Wake County's current policy of assigning students to schools based on a program designed to promote socioeconomic diversity.
The policy has drawn the ire of parents who say it affects property values and dislike having their children bused long distances to schools. The neighborhood schools concept resonated with voters on October 2. They elected three candidates - Chris Malone in District 1, Deborah Prickett in District 7 and Debra Goldman in District 9 - who ran on the neighborhood school platform. The new board members are expected to team with current board member Ron Margiotta who has been open in his opposition to current Wake School Board policies.
The school board has nine members, so with four against, and four supporting socioeconomic diversity, the winner of the Truitt/Tedesco election tips the balance.