Wake County School Board delays vote

December 14, 2009 9:00:00 PM PST
A large crowd showed up at Tuesday's Wake County School Board meeting as the debate over proposals supported by the new majority of the board intensified.It turned out that the school board member who introduced the proposal to change mandatory year-round schools decided to withdraw the motion Tuesday, but not before getting an earful from dozens of parents.

Board members listened to public comments for several hours on changing the diversity policy and ending mandatory year-round schools.

"Diversity is not a policy of convenience," student George Ramsey said. "It is a policy of necessity."

"Academic excellence cannot occur without diversity," parent Vickie Adamson said.

Most of the 70 people who signed up to talk seemed to be at odds with the new majority, and asked them to re-consider their proposed changes.

Some went as far as claiming that those changes would lead to re-segregation of the schools.

"Where's the plan," opposer Gary Disnukes said. "Where's the budget. I urge this board to take a step back and not be in a rush to fulfill campaign promises before all ramifications of these promises are understood."

A minority of those present, however, did offer the board support.

"My hope would be for the opposition to embrace the new school board members ... improve the graduation rates and overall academic achievement for our children," supporter Judy Gladden said.

Board members later decided not to take a controversial vote at the end of the meeting.

The school board plans to come up with questions to send out in a survey to parents and make decisions based on their feedback.

The cost of doing the survey ranges from a few thousand to as much as $144,000 depending on how it's conducted.

The board wants responses back by March, so it can work out the school calendar.

Meanwhile, the NAACP is asking the school board for 45 minutes to present some of their concerns at next month's meeting.

The NAACP says it is worried policy changes could essentially re-segregate the school system.

It's not clear if the board will say yes.

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