Historic Wake school vote set for Tuesday

March 22, 2010 8:36:14 PM PDT
The Wake County School Board is expected to end the county's long-standing socio-economic diversity policy. But Monday hundreds came together in a last ditch effort to keep the policy in place.

The group prayed, sang and lit candles in support of the plan.

Reverend William Barber of the NAACP joined several clergy members from other faiths and denominations in a show of opposition to ending Wake County's diversity policy.

"To stop what is being planned here in Wake County," Barber said. "Separate can never, can never be equal."

The school board's new majority is expected to pass a directive Tuesday that would move toward establishing community schools. Reverend Barber says that would essentially lead to re-segregation.

"We're moving back when 142 years ago, North Carolina blacks and whites working together were moving forward," Barber said.

ABC11 Eyewitness News' calls to several members of the new majority were not immediately returned Monday.

Board member Keith Sutton attended Monday's event with his daughter. He says the battle is just beginning.

"We're in it for the long-haul and it's going to be a long road and again we're just encouraged by the support I hear tonight," Sutton said. "We'll go in tomorrow and see what happens."

The diversity issue isn't the only thing that'll be tackled at Monday meeting.

The board will also discuss and possibly vote on changing the start time of almost 100 elementary schools from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

The board will also hold a hearing on the budget that includes $20 million in cuts.

The board will also take a public vote to put Superintendent Del Burns on administrative leave.

Officials are expecting a huge turnout. They're also implementing a new policy, in which anyone who wants to attend the meeting will need a ticket to get in. Officials say this is being done for safety and security reasons.

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