Mayor joining in on Wake schools debate

June 24, 2010 9:07:29 PM PDT
The fight over Wake County moving towards community schools is taking a new turn with a war of words.The new majority of the school board says its community schools plan will help lower income students succeed.

On Thursday, a school board committee met at Garner High School to work on ways to help those students.

Their plan is expected to take several months to create and include several public meetings before anything is final. But critics say the board's plan will lead to re-segregation.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is now threatening a possible lawsuit against the school board to prevent that from happening. He wants to form a task force to watch the board as they build their community schools plan and have the task force sound the alarm if it looks like it'll lead to re-segregation.

"I think having a task force will really bring more reason to this debate," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker These top notch educators and lawyers can tell us whether the plan is satisfactory. If it is satisfactory, that'll be the end of the questioning as far as I'm concerned."

If the plan is unsatisfactory, Meeker says they'll file a lawsuit.

"If he's really looking to help, he should be spending his money and his efforts on rebuilding parts of East Raleigh instead of on his latest new tower," Majority School Board Member John Tedesco said. "I don't think the city needs another tower that's an iconic symbol to himself when he could be helping kids, citizens and people. He should be investing those resources into helping people instead of trying to divide the community and call for things like a lawsuit. Particularly when he makes a quote about the new board members saying, 'we're not even from around here.' Mayor Meeker might need to wake up and realize most of Wake County wasn't born here anymore."

"It's actually about 90 percent of the people in Wake County, 80 to 90 percent were not born here," Meeker said. "My point is that we share common values, certain core values that every student should be treated fairly regardless of that student's background and that was my point and the school board majority doesn't seem to have that common value."

Meanwhile, Mayor Meeker's wife is part of the minority on the school board who has voted against the community schools plan.

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