Is Tedesco's new job conflict of interest?

June 22, 2011 2:17:53 PM PDT
Wake County Board of Education member John Tedesco has a new job, and some question if it's a conflict of interest with his school board duties.

Tedesco resigned from his longtime position at Big Brother Big Sisters last year saying he wanted to focus on his school board work, but it was also suggested he was pressured to leave because of his high profile role working to end Wake County's longtime socioeconomic diversity policy in favor of sending students to schools closer to their homes.

Now, he's landed a new job as president of the newly formed North Carolina Center for Education Reform.

"We're partnering with private schools, public schools, traditional schools, all 115 public school systems across the state and putting tools in place so teachers can collaborate and ask ideas about best practices," Tedesco said.

The ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team asked him if there would be a conflict with the position and his role as a school board member.

"No, absolutely not," Tedesco replied.

He says the center is off Spring Forest Road and is a non-profit and is not political.

Right now, there is not a sign on the building and so far, there's no information about who is funding the project.

On the NC Secretary of State's website, there are no names listed under officers and Tedesco won't say who's on the board.

Tedesco says there are two board members still awaiting confirmation, so a full list will be released later.

Wake school board member Anne McLaurin and a couple of other Democrats on the board say they also want questions answered.

"It's unclear to me what the group is, where the funding is from and things like that," McLaurin said. "I mean, I think those things are sort of important when you make those sort of decisions."

Republican school board member Chris Malone believes there is no reason for concern.

"I do not see any conflict in his new role in his new organization," Malone added. "I've been to the office. I think that they're up and going and wish him lots of luck."

Tedesco says the center's board is comprised of regular people.

"I know you guys are waiting for this big bomb or something like that," he continued. "I think you'll be surprised it's just regular folks. There's school board members from other counties in the state and people like myself, who believe we need to strengthen our public education system."

Tedesco says he will sit down with ABC11 Wednesday for a longer discussion and by Friday, the center's website will be updated with a list of board members.

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