The chairman of Wake County’s conservative-leaning, nine-member school board was defeated last week in a closely watched election. The change leaves the board split 4-4. A runoff between a Democratic and a Republican candidate is scheduled for Nov. 8.
Board Chairman Ron Margiotta was ousted by Democratic newcomer Susan Evans, who got about 52 percent of the vote.
Mr. Margiotta was at the helm in 2009 when Republican-affiliated candidates became a majority on the board, which then voted to dismantle the district’s long-running policy of assigning students to schools based on socioeconomic diversity.
The move set off a cascade of consequences, including the superintendent resigning and the agency that accredits the district’s high schools placing them on “accredited warned” status.
The current board, which hired retired Army Gen. Anthony Tata as superintendent last year, appears to favor a “controlled choice” school assignment policy that would offer parents several options.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2011 edition of Education Week as Elections Shake Up Board in N.C.'s Wake County