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Nichols on schools

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In your April 2 edition, Bob Geary's article, "N.C. Senate Democratic primaries heat up" addressed my proposal to end the consistent institutional conflict between the Wake County Commissioners and the Wake school board. This conflict threatens to undermine the public's confidence in our nationally recognized school system, which is critical to our economic success and future.

Geary compared my proposal to what has been put forward by the Wake County Commissioners. Their one-sided plan would move school board elections to even years, at the bottom of a long national and state ballot, and make all Wake County government elections at-large. This approach is the wrong direction. Local issues need more attention than they would receive, and running countywide is cost prohibitive to most candidates, and I oppose it. In an earlier story by Fiona Morgan ("A move in western Wake to elect the school board at-large," March 19), I was quoted against that proposal as a probable violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Contrary to Geary's assertion that "he's not in favor of the thing he proposed," I fully support my proposal as a reasonable approach to address the dysfunctional relationship between the county commission and the school board.

My proposal would allow some at-large representation on the school board only after commissioner elections have been moved to odd years, and both boards are elected primarily from the same districts. This model is utilized by most municipalities in Wake County and would ensure all areas of the county are represented both individually and as a whole on each board.

In the same story, my opponent chose to attack and distort my ideas instead of offering his own. Wake County's future is too critical for us to be divided by city or town, economic status, partisanship or ethnicity. Our county faces many challenges, and we need leadership that promotes honest discussions and creative ideas to build consensus solutions.

Jack Nichols
Raleigh

The writer is a candidate for state Senate in District 16.

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