Orange County School Board Race

A lot of folks don't seem to want to talk about anything but the Orange County School Board race and it's ugly twin sister, the merger debate. Here's an open thread for those people so they can stop hijacking other topics of interest to the rest of us. Enjoy.



I would like someone to explaing to me how the INDY could endorse Liz Brown as a OCS candidate. They state that she has been argumentative with the commissioners but they still endorsed her. Liz has been charged with a crime for removing signs. They said that about a CHCCS candidate and they didn't endorse that candidate last year. Liz organized a boycott against CHCCS because she supported merger. Now, Liz says that she doesn't favor merger. Huh? How is this the sign of a elected official who should be calm, thoughtful, and resolved? How do these items show that she can work collaboratively? How did INDY come up with that endorsement? Someone explain that one, I don't get it.

I wish that one of the policies--posted for everyone to see--is that if someone wants to say something nasty and damaging to another's reputation that they must sign their real name and provide a legitimate email address. Anonymity doesn't bother me most of the time, but I think there are too many instances on this forum where individuals use their anonymity to fuel hateful rumormongering. If you want to hurt someone's image/reputation, then yould be willing to take responsibility for your words.

Mr. Mulkey,

First, you can call me Mark.

Second, well founded rumors are the ones about you and your friends. Poorly founded ones are about me and my friends. Seriously though, the post that was deleted was like a push poll in that it asked a question with a nasty implication. It wasn't even brave enough to go ahead and assert that the implied matter was true.

If there is something to the rumor, then let's hear the evidence. Surely you could interest a local reporter in the story if it is true. They all read this blog, so some of them probably even read the post that was deleted.

Regardless, I think that candidate's fate is sealed without having to get down into that issue, you know?

Mark C. --

keep up the sense of humor....... It's needed!

happy voting (if you did not already ),


Mr. Chilton,

Is"well founded rumors" the ones you started and the "baseless rumor" is the one you haven't heard of yet?

I have been hearing about the incumbent's college degree rumor for 3 weeks now with no proof either way. I didn't see the post that OC Voter refers to.

As for the Hartkopf NRA website link from 2 years ago that was fact. I never understood why Mr. Hartkopf had that link on his website promoting himself for school board.

Alas, no one takes the time to check things of that sort. I suggested to Ruby (who is out of town) to delete the post questioning a candidate's college degree. That question was scurrilous and if someone has some kind of serious basis for that type of question, then let's hear it. But we are not going to use this forum to spread baseless rumor. Well-founded rumors on the other hand . . .

Oops! I didin't mean Cook in my last post. I meant Carey!!

Sorry, Keith!!

Do the papers or anyone investigate any of the candidates? Do they research past public comments? Compile past voting record of incumbents? How many own property and pay taxes in Orange County?

All this talk about inconsistencies - Do the papers have the resources to compare past campaigns and comments to now? (btw is Hartkopf still a member of the National Rifle Associaton - remember the outcry when his old web site had a link to the NRA)

Does anyone verify their references and involvement? A deleted post here questioned an incumbent's college degree? Could you really get away with such a big lie? But then who bothers to check? Its only an elected position - not like you are applying forjob, right?


Did you anyone see the INDY's endorsement yesterday for county commissioner. It was Margeret and Moses. Wow... that was a surprise. Wasn't it. I noticed that they praised Carey's environmental record. Seems like I remember that they had a problem or two with his record in the past and wrote about it. Guess that all is forgiven. I know that Moses will be forever gratiful to Margeret.

That endorsement sure did sound familar. Didn't it now. It sounded like it was right out of a Dan Coleman column or Margeret's closing remarks at a forum. Endorsement done by commitee. I keep wondering whose committee. Isn't that interesting.

Dont you wonder how much investigative reporting that they did into some of questions that have been raised. I noticed the article on merger in their paper. It was called " Fishing for dirt on the other candidates, but couldn't find any" article.

Oh darn. I guess that I missed those investigative reporting pieces on things like "what was really happening with Education in Excellance committee and how it was being being used in the campaign". Shucks, I just know I missed them.

Did you hear their comment to Pam. "Keep involved with politics". Yes, they liked her envirnoment record and knowledge (a knowledge that far and away exceeded Moses), but they just wanted to point out to Pam that you just DONT raise your voice to Margeret, Pam. Bad move, girl.

Three cheers for the media. The independent media. Hip.. Hip... Horray..I just love the INDY and Fox News Channel. Don't you?

Try reading it again.

Otherwise, call me up, tell me your name and I'll explain it you.


Liz Brown is quoted in the News of Orange as saying

"I don't know four people in Orange County who are pro-merger,"

Do the names Cook, Thompson,Chambliss, Kennedy, Monroe-Porco, Hough (Oops, that's 6) ring a bell?

Has she forgotten her friends?

I am still wondering how a progressive paper like the INDY did not endorse incumbent Gloria Faley. Kirk, we would like to know why you didn't. Yes, it is old news, but it really made a lot of us wonder about your paper. The reason in the paper did NOT make any sense.

Gosh, if someone on our staff is married to someone with political connections, then of course we just all put our pens down and do whatever they say.

Honestly, people always see conspiracies in what we do. It's the Orange political pastime. I think its something in the water. I blame OWASA and the secret cabal that controls it.


Don't try to pretend that you are not in on it. We are watching you, Kirk . . .

I'd urge all OP readers to read the article...

The only thing that is clear is that our county commissioners are excellent at slash and burn politics.

read it - I don't think it puts Jacobs in a good light -- regardless of how it makes Faison look...

Our endorsements come out on July 14.

Thanks for reading.

Will you be endorsing only Margaret , M&M, or will you take a giant leap forward and decide 20 years in one elected is enough and endorse Margaret & Pam Hemminger?

I have wondered how you guys handle an endorsement with staff who's spouse ran the campaign for one of the endorsees?

Dear NoCJIsSpinning,

All that article does is repeat an ungrounded assumption and you are reinforcing it. Someone is clearly paying for the poll but where's the evidence of who? The ungrounded allegations coming from this list and around this community is clearly reaching epidemic proportion. Let's all act as if we are educated and make our judgments based on what we know rather than on conspiracy theories. I recommend you go talk to the candidates and make your choice based on what they say. Then triangulate that against voting records, personal data, etc.



the editor of the chapel hill herald has an interesting opinion about this political race -- namely that the personal nature of it is dragging it down... take a look

Good opinions from the Herald. I would make one addition. He wrote: "We hope, in the short time that remains before July 20, that all the candidates, in all the races, will get back to those issues and policies. While only few may vote in two weeks, the winners will represent all of their constituents. The candidates need to remember that." I would encourage the voters to remember the same thing. We are the ones who put people in office and we have an obligation to do so from informed positions. Can we get the contributors to this forum to quit the personal sniping and get back to real issues? While some of what's happening locally may be a reflection of the larger political environment within the US, I think we in Orange County can do better and create an environment in which we deal with realities rather than speculation, sniping, and gossip.

If I had needed more examples of the similarities between CJ's postings and those of Al Hartkopf's friend, Paul Newton, CJ provided them.

Like Paul Newton's, CJ's postings are petty, condescending, and mean spirited. Like Paul Newton's, CJ's postings veer away from the issues and purposefully misdirect the discussion. Like Paul Newton's, CJ's postings engage in personal attacks, twisting the truth, or giving only part of the truth. After all, Paul Newton was quoted in the 6/16/04 Independent as saying, "Politics are personal." He and Al Hartkopf play politics that way.

Referring again to Paul Newton's "death nail" posting of 06/29/04: his only point seems to be to fault Barry Jacobs for having Republican supporters. First, if it's true, Barry Jacobs should be praised and not disparaged. Second, it was completely off the topic. The topic was that fringe Republican groups, like Citizens for a Sound Economy (of which Al Hartkopf is a member), are supporting Democratic county commissioner candidates. Barry Jacobs is not a county commissioner candidate. Third, as usual, Paul Newton fails to tell the whole truth: that he and Al Hartkopf are Republican supporters of Barry Jacob's Democratic opponent, Bill Faison. (See today's Chapel Hill Herald for examples of Bill Faison's style of politics.)

I'd be surprised if the Independent endorses Al Hartkopf. But I guess since CJ has such a disdain for the publication, we can rest assured that this election, for a change, entire stacks of the Independent's endorsement issue will not be stolen.

FAIR FUNDING advocates should take note that CAREY and BROWN did NOT second two motions by Commissioner Gordon during the recent budget workshops which would chip away at funding disparity in a manner that is much more fiscally responsible than merger.

The first motion was to raise the ad valorem tax by a penny and lower the city district tax by 0.7 cents, thereby starting to reduce differences in funding with very little tax impact.

The second motion was to start preparing a countywide supplemental tax ballot question which could be considered for inclusion on the November ballot. This motion also went without a second. The motion was merely to start preparations so that it might be possible to put it on the ballot. Without starting now, there is little possiblity of having it on the ballot if the commissioners later desire to go that route.

Actions speak louder than words and I don't see how fair funding advocates could possibly vote for Carey or Brown in the July primary.

Haha! You guys are funny. I guess the cat has been let out of the sack. There are only TWO people in Orange County against MERGER. Al Hartkopf and Paul Newton, the poster children of the Independent Weekly (a world class publication filled with advertisements of Voodoo Spells, Tarrot Card readings, and Hot Gay Men Escort services), have clearly aggrivated someone in a high place. When I think about it, all those people who spoke out against MERGER at the public hearings were being secretly remote controlled by Hartkopf and Newton from a secret location (perhaps through a voodoo spell). I am thankful that we have the Independent available to us to tell us the truth! Their candidate endorsements mean all the world to me because they are so thorough. Hahahaha! Thats so funny! Thank you NoCJ!

Fi (Thompson Gerlach Kennedy?), what a bunch of dribble. I think I have mentioned before that I am not Hartkopf. Perhaps you would like to reveal your true identity? Please refer to your own rhetoric. There are a relative handful of individuals who would benefit from making people believe that MERGER is a dead issue. Clearly, you are one of them. Your candidates, Liz Brown and Jim Henninger, are attempting to dupe Orange County citizens through their own campaign rhetoric. Regardless if MERGER is a dead issue or not (I believe it is NOT a dead issue), your candidates are not being honest with their beliefs. See my previous posts for the examples that support my statements. Oh yeah, your candidates are really good at identifying the problems, but they don't list any solutions. Why is that I wonder?

CJ may not be Al Hartkopf, but he's certainly a Hartkopf supporter. It's interesting that CJ's postings bear a strong resemblance to those of Paul Newton, perhaps Hartkopf's biggest supporter. CJ and Paul Newton both have a tendency to trip over their own words. CJ says "dribble" when he means "drivel." I can only guess that Paul Newton's "death nail" is a "death knell," although he uses the term incorrectly. (See Paul Newton's 06/29/04 posting to

The following article and responses appeared in recent issues of the Independent. They are perfect illustrations of Paul Newton, his friend Al Hartkopf, and their brand of politics. or

Political courage has not been shown by anyone.

The county school board had 2 occasions to 2nd a tiny district tax for education for the county but not a single member bothered to second that motion.

the county commissioners had 3 chances to raise education for county school funding had turned the other cheek.

The county school board chair asked to raise 5 cents for education and was ignored. A county commissioner asked to raise 1 penny for education and was ignored. And a county commissioner proposed using a countywide supplemental tax for education. All 3 of these would have given more funding to orange schools faster than any other proposal and all failed to even get a second from either Dana Thompson on the school board or moses on the commissioners..

Using Kids as props loses its potency over time after repeated lack of support for increasing funding... Every time a 2nd can not be found to increase funding for the county is another nail in the coffin that this is about getting more funding for the county schools...

CJ(aka Al Hartkopf)

The only way the voters will not have a say in a merger proposal is with a county commisioner intitiated merger. If you have been to Chapel Hill lately, you would have noticed that there is a movement underway to unseat any county commisioner who was even agreeable to discussing merger. There is no groundswell of support for merger in Chapel Hill. The Chapel Hill voters have every intention of slamming that door shut. Any merger proposal initiated by the school boards would have to go before the voters. Thus your drum beating about the sky falling(merger) are, how shall I say --- disingenuous. Incidently, so is having a scripted conversation with yourself or your portovoz on this website for the purpose of having a very mean spirited tone without taking credit for it. Remember, sir, nastiness is not the same as effectiveness, and fear mongering is not the same as leadership. Your "hyperbole does you no justice." You know what? If we had enough funds for spanish teachers you could ask your kids what 'portovoz' means.

In the first chapter of John Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage," the author describes what he feels is political courage and the pressures politicians must face. None of the senators profiled in this book are there because they were mean spirited or engaged in fear mongering. They are there because they had the courage to stand up for what they thought was right, often at the expense of their own careers. Liz Brown had the courage to stand up for the school system and support an idea that was very unpopular. She and others did so not for their own benefit but for the purpose of getting the schools the funds that they need.

I would ask again, Mr. Hartkopf, what are your ideas for supporting the schools? Your website doesnt mention anything specific about how to correct the funding 'discrepancy' between Chapel Hill-Carborro and Orange County schools.


Minority Achievement Gap.

When Superintendent Carraway was presenting the proposed budget to the school board, one of the visuals of school system successes that she displayed was that the achievement gap had narrowed significantly and was non-existent in some areas. The exception was in high school, where there was some widening. Shirley Carraway had gained some reknown in the state for her work and expertise with the achievement gap prior to coming here. I suspect that may be a good part of the reason for ultimately bringing her in. My inclination on working on the achievement gap would be to work closely with her and support her efforts. I won't pretend to be an expert in this area. I think that also fits into the governing vs micro managing aspect of what the school board is actually supposed to do. My suspicion on the gap in the high school is that, again, we are seeing the tail end of problems that we needed to have caught much earlier in school. This is essentially the same answer that I gave the NAACP when asked the same question.

Actually if the school board members wanted to be as disingenious/devious as our current county commissioners they could slap together a merger plan that looks exactly like the county manager's vague one and stipulate it be put to a vote...

the school boards could enter the merger domain if they wanted to as a pre-emptive strike...

Both school boards togther could do that... but is against any liklihood that Liz Brown would ever let the County have a vote on merger or a district tax.....

so their views on merger DO matter...and whether they think it should be done in a democratice way... stop acting like we are in DC

"School board members have absolutely no say in a merger initiated by county commissioners. I believe the whole question is moot, anyway, because the commissioners are no longer discussing it. Only the anti-merger folks insist on flogging that dead horse." - Liz Brown

I cannot believe that Liz Brown actually wants everyone to believe the issue of merger is a dead horse! This statement is way too disingenuous coming from the foremost pro-merger advocate of the county. This is further proof of my claims that Liz Brown is purposely trying to mislead voters so that she will get elected.

In case anyone missed it or wants to hear it again, WCHL is broadcasting a recording of Monday's OCSB forum this Friday morning, July 2nd, from 10am to noon.

The facilities in Hillsborough prohibited us from airing it live.

I just listened to the forum (thanks WCHL!). I'd love to hear what others thought. A few comments from me:

-I was glad that the candidates wanted to focus on some issues besides funding and merger, even though those two did seem to be the biggies.

-I thought there were some good ideas about reducing the district's dropout rate. Henninger repeatedly called for more social workers. Brown suggested that students begin to dropout in middle school even if they don't officially leave until high school.

-The alternative school came up a few times. A couple of candidates (I don't remember who) suggested this as a possible area of collaboration with Chapel Hill. I think that's a good idea in principle.

-Hartkopf's mantra was no merger, and no new taxes. But one of his other platform pieces is recruiting and retaining educators. How do you do that without increased pay being part of the package? I'd figure you'd have to have more tax revenue to do that.

-No one in Orange County seems to want to touch the minority achievement gap. Four African-American administrators recently asked the board to be more proactive on this issue. I wish candidates would talk about it some.

Anybody else listen in?

Thanks, Patrick. I am aware of much of the formulae that go into the Fed and state funding. There are gray areas, also, that could be funded through local dollars or, if structured differently, might be eligible for Fed, State, or grant money. That is what I was wondering about. There is no way to know without just getting in and rolling up one's sleeves and examining the budget item by item and asking the question, "can this be funded in another way?" for each one. Of course, each would also have the question, "Is this necessary?"

I think the 48% figure that education has in the Orange County budget is high for two reasons. The first is the one that immediately springs to mind when one hears such a percentage, and that is that the schools are well funded. The second, though, is that the percentage is high because Orange County does not presently have near the social costs of neighboring counties, such as Durham and Wake. Look at the expense of the huge Durham County jailhouse and the loan scandals, etc. Gangs moving into the area worry me a lot. I would hate to see the 48% figure go down for the wrong reasons.

James, please understand that local dollars are where citizens, school boards, and governments have the most input and impact. Very little if any influence can occur at the state or federal level from a local school board or county government. State and federal funding is base in part on formulas to meet certain student needs. I am sure the superintendent can better explaim it. That is why the commissioner and school board associations end up being the lobby arms to the state and general assembly.

I would urge you and others to look at the Commissioner Assoc. website and the tax and budget survey. There is alot of good information there including how much of each county's pie goes to education. For example, Orange is roughly 50% and we are on the high side. That website is ""


You mention earlier that Orange County Schools are #2 in local gov. funding. It may be #4, but I've had so many numbers going lately, I won't argue. Interestingly, though, when we look at total dollars per pupil (Fed + state + local), we slip to #17. So I wonder if we are pursuing other avenues agressively enough. It is my understanding that last year's shortfall was covered by discovering ways to shift expenses to other than local revenues. It would be nice to know how much deeper that treasure chest may be.

Jay, you make a point that the school systems are cutting back on teacher assistants and that this is the wrong direction, I agree. Some of that movement is coming from the Governor, you remember that guy who shows up when a storm blows through the State. He has proposed that the K-2 class size be reduced 1 to 15 and to help provide more funds to hire teachers, he proposed to cut all teacher's aides in those grades. I don't know about your experience with teacher's aides but my wife and I have been very pleased and we have had kids in the county system for 10 years now. In my twins 1st grade class this pass year the ratio was 1 adult to 9 kids I like that better than 1 to 15.

Terri -- I TRULY apologize to you if you never insinuated a district might be wasting money... sorry

As far as the Tax Revenue I am farily certain the differential tax rates different groups pay -- e.g. Farmers -- are taken into account for the revenue models...There are assumptions about increasing property values over time that would make homeowners happy (e.g. 25% increase every 4 years)... but I think the low tax rate for farmers is accounted for...

As far as sureveying parents -- I DO think it would be useful.. For instance things like charter/magnet schools would have to be located where parents would be willing to send their kids voluntarily ... so just to site schools or decide on programs without gauging public support is a mistake. (e.g. the SIX efland soccer fields .. a lot of fields). I think surveying would also help with programmatic decisions.... I suspect for instance in elementary schools in town parents have a strong influence on WHICH foreign language a kid might take. etc..

As far as access to computers and specialists and so on.. I don't see a problem in having countywide information technology etc.. for schools and some other programs.

However, in my opinion this whole merger "debate" has been brought up in a bass ackwards fashion by our elected officials.

Part of my fear is that there are cuts going on in the town district e.g. teaching assistants --- that are moving in the wrong direction. I can only imagine how quickly funding will slide in a merged district...

Jean Bolduc describes a sceanrio EXACTLY like this ... how to cut education funding without telling anyone....Sadly, one of the county school board candidates has also revealed this "hidden agenda" which is really to cut town school funding as much as raise county funding.. So these fears have a basis in discussed possibilities.

Jay--please don't speak for me. I never called either district wasteful. As for your idea of asking parents what they want or how they feel.....why???? That would indeed be wasteful. The idea of the task force is to investigate whether children have access for equivalent educational opportunities between the two districts. Believe it or not, there are issues of opportunity and equity that don't involve AP courses. For example, do children in both districts have equal access to technology? to learning specialists? to the arts? Those questions cannot necessarily be answered purely by dollar amounts. From my last conversation with members of the research team, I know they are not doing any cost analyses. They are looking at opportunities. They have not yet developed a methodology.

Also, I spoke with the economic development officer for Orange Co today and asked if the data on the supplemental tax accounted for the fact that so much land in Orange Co is taxed at a lower value or whether the figures were run on pure numbers. She didn't know but promised to get back to me.


The Task Force Study ---

God bless 'em for volunteering.

Basically this study is of limited funds $25,000 and limited time (starts July 1 - November) with the faculty volunteering their time to do it...

However, it did not come across clearly that they were going to go into detailed expenditure/efficiency analysis NOR surprisingly what parents in both districts like or don't like or feel is lacking in either school system.

(I can imagine administration wanting AP art history but am less convinced all parents may feel this as a need)

Apparently to do a large scale randomized scientific survey of parents with kids in the district to find out how they feel is cost and time prohibitive.

I believe they are going to ask the administration a lot of questions but MAY not get around to surveying the parents to see if the parents feelings match the administrations - which we know would not happen in either district.

There has already been a lot published in the newspapers showing similarity in teacher retention rates and teacher qualifications between the 2 districts...(teacher retention was one of those fallicies that turned out to be similar)...

There are about twice as many AP and honors courses in the town district but less vocational access. And if I remember correctly more specialists. This is not surprising - however - because the tax dollars earmarked for education are about 50% higher in town. If the town did not get more and was taxing itself 50% more than yes Jean Bolduc's and Terri's accusations of a wasteful school district would seem to have more merit - you get what you pay for in other words so don't be surprised if paying more gets more...

I'm not quite sure what will come out of this that already has not been made available in some fashion.

Anyone know?? I'm not sure what people are expecting to come from this study and why people think it will be more enlightening than things we don't already know.

Gerry -

the race issue is non existent between the 2 districts...

If anything the town populace is more diverse with a much larger asian percentage.. However, the free lunch percentage is higher in the county.

If you lived in Wake when they merged - there was a 5-10% increase in the number of kids who went to private school and left the public school system...

Mark Peters states:

"Wake and Durham would kill for multiple districts"

actually, in Wake the impetus for this comes largely from predominantly white upper income sections of Cary. Voters in Wake County defeated merger at the polls in 1972 (the Raleigh city system was significantly black, the Wake County system heavily white) but the legislature merged the system anyway in 1975. I've had two kids go through the Wake County school and think it is a great system. If Cary had "neighborhood schools" then they would be largely lily white.

I'm not advocating merger or non-merger in Orange County.

I live in a racially intergated neighborhood in NW Wake County, my subdivision is about 20% black and 20% asian.

Just saw Farhenheit 9/11.

Everyone making decisions to go to war in Iraq in the government (house, congress,president) did not actually send their own kids to go fight. The perspective of parents with kids over seas was very different than the rest of the populace.

We all fund schools but why is it that I feel many of the pro-merger advocates no longer have kids in the school district - if they ever had any at all.

Those of you who are following the county school board race would no doubt benefit from attending The Chapel Hill Herald's school board candidates' forum this coming Monday, June 28. We'll be in the Gordon Battle Courtroom in Hillsborough. The debate will begin at 7 p.m. We've tinkered with the format this year to allow "free discussion" between the candidates at several points during the event, and it will be interesting to see how that works out.

Graig Meyer said "I do not think there is much waste in either district's budget."

Last year the OCS covered 1.6 million dollar short fall both from the County and State without laying anyone off. About half the money came from the reserve fund and the other half from federal and state funds to pay teachers and staff that was unused.That alone should raise questions about how money is being applied in the OCS system as well as the city system. It will be interesting to see the UNC study results.

Another point is how much of an increase has there been in the non classroom personnel in the pass 10 years. Some are a result of changes in programs and laws I'm sure. I have seen a number of administrative position created for infective teachers and principals in order to get them out of the school in OCS. Almost always their pay remains the same or they receive a pay increase.

On counting the number of vacant classroom seats, the merger report which was not clear in how they arrived at the numbers. Example: both systems have a number of older schools where the classrooms were built to seat 28 - 30 students for each class.The maxiumun number in a class may be 18 now set by the local school system and the State may be at 20 to 24. Which standard was used?

Graig, I would not feel confident about merger not happening just yet. There are at least 2 members on the BOCC in favor of merger (Brown and Carey) and they only need 3 votes to pass it. The only way to ensure merger is taken off the table is to vote out those two members on July 20.

Jean, your negative comments on the superintendents travel allownace etc. are not constructive in this debate.

Graig--do you really think this is a debate? My perception is that sides were drawn right from the beginning, based more on emotional response (both sides) than on an understanding of the issues and the impacts of certain decisions. One of the definitions of debate in Merriam-Webster is "a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides." I don't see matched sides here--one side has more power (CHCCS already has higher funding plus they have superior numbers for advancing their position).

Since you have a foot in both camp, I respect your opinions more than others. But I do see trying to broaden the equity discussion from Orange Co to the entire state as obfuscatory. To me it says, 'let's forget about our local problems and focus on a broader arena.' That is different from calling you obfuscatory--which I pointed out earlier. I appreciate your desire to broaden the debate, but I just don't think that is going to happen given the extent of the emotion surrounding this issue from both sides. Heck, I haven't even heard any BOC candidates saying we need to hear from the UNC study on whether the funding difference is resulting in differences of opportunity before we make a decision. Debate? I don't think so.

Mark, your questions are excellent for probing the depths of this issue. Realistically, I think we're more likely to see local merger than statewide funding. Many, many districts would complain about local control and taxation issues if the state stepped in, and I bet it wouldn't just be the richest districts. But, the state's current rules are that a merged district must be funded at the level of the highest current district. If that were true statewide, Chapel Hill and Orange wouldn't have anything to worry about because everyone else would get as much money as we have now.

To further delineate my earlier points, I think it's totally legitimate to have a fair funding debate within the county. But if you use proximity as one of your arguments, you have to look at who else you are in proximity to. In the current state of being, there are certainly lots of people who choose to move to both local districts for the schools. If your choice has been to live in the Orange County district but now you want the opportunities provided by Chapel Hill-Carrboro, then you have the choice to move.


You are bringing up some great areas of discussion.

> Many, many districts would complain about local control and taxation

> issues if the state stepped in, and I bet it wouldn't just be the richest

> districts.

This argues for local control and is exactly why we should not merge. Wake and Durham would kill for multiple districts. There is no current state preference for 1 district per county. We should have local districts with local control and there is no reason to tie it to arbitrary county boundaries and boot 2 elected school boards and infrastructure to rebuild a whole new one.

> Chapel Hill and Orange wouldn't have anything to worry about

> because everyone else would get as much money as we have now.

This would be true if the County estimates did not hold the per pupil funding FIXED at $1,167 for TEN YEARS!! How can they account for growth and inflation on the revenue side and not account for inflation AT ALL on the expense side? This makes no sense to me. The fact is that it merger is EITHER going to have much more serious tax implications than is being stated OR the city district is going to be seriously harmed from a funding point of view. I think that most citizens don't understand this because it is buried in spreadsheets. In one case the city district has to be worried about being held harmless and in the other case OCS district needs to worry about the tax implication being understated.


Jay is partly right ... merger does require that the new district's funding be at the rate of the higher system. That would mean a huge increase for county residents.

If the commissioners merge the districts, it will have to be phased in OR they will simply reduce funding in subsequent years, eventually striking a balance between Chapel Hill's level of funding and that of the county.

Perhaps Dr. Pederson's consultant and travel allowance will suffer. I'm not losing much sleep over that. Of course, it's unlikely that it will be Dr. Pederson's anyway.

Terri- I guess I would simply say that no decision has been made, and there are clearly lots of people still discussing the issue. As you've pointed out in other threads, I'm also OK with elected officials who change their minds on an issue (as long as they have good reasons). And while I think we can reasonably assume that merger will not happen, there still seem to be lots of options for funding. So, I think that a good civil discourse (debate?) needs to look at lots of issues, have space for people to express their emotional responses, and have some ethical/moral principles that we use as basis for final decisions. Is it too late for that? I feel like we're still in the middle of it.



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