School board member breaks protocol at hearing

December 4, 2012 4:57:08 AM PST
The latest meeting about the Wake County student assignment plan took yet another bizarre turn Monday night at Davis Drive Middle School.

More than 30 parents spoke at a public hearing talking about distance and calendar concerns with their schools. However, what really stood out about the meeting were comments made by school board member Debra Goldman before the hearing even began.

"It's at my personal dismay that we're looking at restructuring or tearing apart this plan this year and then again even worse for next year," said Republican school board member Debra Goldman.

Speaking to a crowd of most of her constituents in Cary, Goldman unleashed her anger over the Democratic majority's proposal to reassign about 1,500 students next school year.

"I liked the plan we had," said Goldman. "My own personal opinion -- not that of the board."

Her words came just minutes before a public comment period on the assignment plan.

There was also a heated exchange last week between board members Susan Evans and Deborah Prickett on the issue during a meeting.

Evans snatched a microphone from Prickett, when she told a crowd the board had promised to keep the choice plan in place at least three years. Reminders of that promise came from peeved parents Monday evening.

"How can you make a promise to families and children and break that promise," said Apex parent Erica Phillips. "How can you not honor the promise that the board before you made to those families and children."

The new proposal offers a mix of choice and diversity, which would allow parents to stay at a base school near their home or rank options. It would fill new schools, while adhering to enrollment caps to prevent overcrowding at others.

"It seems that the recent measures of the board have been very rushed and poorly planned," said Raleigh parent Jenn Clarke.

After three assignment plans in as many years, most parents said more changes will bring more harm.

"Please stop the changes, let the families be families," said Cary parent Brent Johnson.

"I think all of the parents here all we want is continuity and stability, thank you," said Apex parent Megan Stocker.

A third public hearing will be held Wednesday at Rolesville Middle School.

Board members plan to vote on their proposal on Dec. 11.

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