Dems dominate Wake school board, Margiotta out as chairman

The policy direction of the Wake county school board may be heading for another major shift after a likely sweep by Democrats of the five available seats on Tuesday.

Candidates supported by the Wake County Democratic Party won four of the five school board seats up for grabs. The election gained national importance after a year of controversy surrounding the Wake County diversity policy.

Read the recap of the race here

The results of the election raise speculation on whether or not the board’s controversial 2009 decision to end the countywide diversity busing program will be overturned by the new Democratic majority.

The remaining seat for district 4 will go to a runoff, since none of the candidates received a majority of the vote. The top vote winner in that race was Kevin Hill, endorsed by the Democratic Party.

“This election was particularly challenging because we have to win 100 percent of the seats.  Normally if you get 4 out of 5 seats, you’d consider it a success, but here we have to win 5 of the 5 seats up for grabs to win back the majority,” said Nation Hahn, Wake County Democratic party spokesman, as he and fellow Democrats watched results come in at the Wilmoore café in Raleigh.

While the elections are officially non-partisan, the campaigns were largely shaped by the Republican and Democratic parties and their respective endorsements.

Early voting results showed Democrat-backed candidates surging ahead in most races. Cheers and handshakes were exchanged by Democrats gathered in Raleigh after each district’s results reported Democratic victories.

District 8 winner Susan Evans said she was very pleased with the results and that the elections shows that the Wake county community values the education of its children.

The mood in the Republican camp was more somber. District 8 incumbent and school board chairman Ron Margiotta thanked his supporters after conceding defeat to Evans.

The Wake County School Board seized the attention of the national media when a Republican majority overturned the former diversity-based school assignment plan for a more “community-based” plan.

And this year, while other issues — budget reform, improving academic programs, discipline policy, etc. — have received some attention, school assignment has been the controversy at the center of the election again.

“My concern is that I think we’ll go back to where we were two years ago,” Margiotta said. “I don’t think that’s what the public wants, I don’t think that’s what the parents want. I don’t think it’s good for the community, but I can accept the will of the people.”

View the Reesenews photo gallery of Tuesday’s elections here

  1. I thought "community based" schools was a good thing. I pay taxes in my "community" why should my kids get sent to a different school? And…why does it take six people to write one article???? wow..are things that bad now for english majors?

    Comment by Lane on October 12, 2011 at 1:39 am

  2. glad to hear that the election results came out this way.people have to realize that the local elections matter tremendously.we need to keep the public informed as to what is going on at all times,because once the people realize that their voice matters,they will continue to pay attention to the issues.one vote coupled with many more unifies an effort for change.way to go Democratic Party.

    Comment by JERRILYNN FINKLEY on October 12, 2011 at 4:07 am

  3. The people voted for racism and division instead of choice. Id bet the same people who are pro choice on the abortion issue are the same folks who voted for the parents to have no choice in the schools they send their none aborted kids too.

    Seems to me if you are pro choice, that philosophy would be for a lifetime of choice.

    Comment by Joe on October 12, 2011 at 7:27 am

  4. Lane, let me gently try to increase your understanding of journalism, elections, and what this entails. It takes, actually, many more than six to be at all the different locations one has to cover election night–polls, campaign headquarters, victory celebrations, defeated candidates' homes, etc. Multiply that by numbers of candidates and you get quite a large field. Even though one can sometimes use a phone, there is nothing like witnessing what is going on. It simply takes shoe leather. As for English majors, well, a great many trained journalists choose as their majors communications, media, and/or journalism. At many major universities, these are not part of the English Department. Moreover, the editors on the desk are the ones who polish the writing, double-check facts, proof stories, make the reporters get other info if the story needs it, and generally make the piece shine. (They never get a byline but they are integral to the process.) A shared byline means a lot of people contributed to your understanding of what went on. And that's usually all to the good.

    Comment by Lol on October 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

  5. Studies have shown that kids bused for socio-economic diversity are exposed to ideas and opportunities not found in their normal environment. How wonderful to value this in this election.

    Comment by Genie on October 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm

  6. The dems won, get over it and get really tea party and the rest of you people who don't care about all the people but care for only people that only look like you. May GOD please help you all. You people love the death penalty but dont want abrotion. killing is killing ,but would make to much sense and some of lots of you will never change. The God I serve love everyone, an thoses of you who call yourself a christ like need to pray GOD change your heart that's if you really have one !!!

    Comment by Robin on October 13, 2011 at 12:20 am

  7. Thank goodness the good citizens of Wake County have "seen the light", and voted for candidates who have the best interest of ALL students instead of just those in gated communitites. Now, I hope the rest of this state and country follow suit in November 2012 and elect democrats.

    Comment by Lillian on October 13, 2011 at 9:33 am

  8. Your community paid taxes go to the state and to the county. Counties must do what is best for all students. Counties cannot allow issues like "my child rides a bus across town" get in the way of creating success pathways for all students. You have an option though, private school….

    Comment by Cohort 18 on October 13, 2011 at 11:21 am

  9. Thank goodness that I can look forward to my kids spending more time on getting to and from school. I used to think that having kids spend time at home or in school was best for learning, but apparently busing them around is superior. So, my question now is. Why stop at Wake county border. Why build a wall there. Shouldn't we be tearing down these artificial community walls? Lets get our kids sent to other communities outside wake and in turn get more diverse kids from surrounding areas. Lets see where this diversity model can take us. Maybe we can get a high speed train service and get kids from neighboring states as well. Think big … cmon.. it's our kids future at stake !

    Comment by Bill on October 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm