Will elections change new Wake schools plan?

October 12, 2011 6:28:46 PM PDT
With a run-off expected between Democratic incumbent Kevin Hill and Republican newcomer Heather Losurdo, some are wondering what's in store for the contentious Wake County school board.

As of noon Wednesday, Hill failed to get the required 50 percent plus one needed to be declared the official winner, but some votes are still being counted.

They are expected to be certified by Oct. 18 - the same day the current school board is expected to vote on the new student assignment choice plan.

The Wake County Board of Elections is trying to determine if Hill can be declared the winner of the school board race in District 3 or if it is too close to call and Losurdo can ask for a run-off.

"I'm excited I got more votes this year than I did back in 2007," Hill said. "I look forward to the next three weeks, to staying on the board and advocating for our kids."

Losurdo has said she intends to ask for a run-off. And with this being the only race and the only seat left for Republicans to grab, its game on.

If there's a run-off, expect to see a lot more campaign flyers and perhaps more mudslinging from outside groups, If Hill wins the seat, it will give Democrats a majority, and if Losurdo wins, it will keep the Republicans in power.

"We have one shot left this November," School Board Vice Chair John Tedesco said. "If you want a neighborhood school system that focuses on parental empowerment and student achievement first, this run-off will be key."

School Board Chairmain Ron Margiotta said he believed he was voted out Tuesday because his supporters, who had been happy, didn't show up to vote. He also said he believed that new board members would go back to the old bussing for diversity policy.

"That hasn't helped anyone," Magiotta said. "It hasn't helped the people in my district or the people bussed into my district. Those kids have suffered more than anyone else because they haven't had seats in local schools to attend."

"The old assignment plan is water under the bridge," Hill said in reference to Magiotta's concerns. "We have an outline of a new plan to work with and we need to ensure that it works well for all kids. We may need to slow down the process a bit, but the old plan is the old plan, we won't be going back to that."

Democratic School Board Member-Elect Susan Evans has said he has no plans to come out swinging with sweeping changes like the Republican leadership did two years ago.

"Most importantly we want good government and professionalism returned to the school board, with decision making based on a collaboration between board members," Evans said. "Our community deserves that."

When the new school board members are sworn in this December, thousands of families will be watching to see what that new board will do. So far, Evans and Hill - if he's re-elected - have said that they'll work with the new choice assignment plan, but may tweak it some. However, they call the old bussing plan just that, the old plan.

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