More forward thinking out of Wake County

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Just stumbled onto this, courtesy of the WakeEd blog at the Raleigh News & Observer…Wake County is moving closing to a true public-private partnership to build a school.

Folks, this is something we need to watch very carefully, because I support more public-private partnerships such as this.

See the following:

Moving toward public-private partnerships

Wake is moving closer toward using a public-private partnership to build a school.

School administrators said at yesterday’s school board facilities committee meeting that they’ve narrowed it down to three groups that they’re considering for a public-private partnership. If things proceed to fruition, one of those groups will be hired to build a school and then lease it back to the school district.

Six groups had submitted proposals, but administrators say their shortlist consists of teams led by Balfour Beatty Capital, First Choice Public-Private Partners, LLC and Place Enterprise, LLC. Administrators will ask the school board to officially approve this shortlist on Tuesday.

The school district wants to test the concept at one school first. In this case, the pilot project is a new elementary school slated to open in Wake Forest in 2010.

The three companies will be asked to provide more detailed plans, including cost estimates for building the school and the lease payments. In theory, private developers can build schools cheaper and quicker than school districts.

Here’s where the deal could still fall through.

Administrators say they’ll recommend to the school board on April 22 whether or not to continue with the pilot project. Factors that will be considered include whether the proposals will actually save money.

Some school board members, such as Beverley Clark, are skeptical of using this approach to build new schools. Other board members, such as Ron Margiotta, feel the conditions being put on the teams are too strict and will negate meaningful savings.


E.C. 🙂


Forward thinking versus “stuck in the 90s”

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. It’s case study time.

Courtesy of our friends at North Carolina’s premier news network, News 14 Carolina, we have two separate stories that deal with land acquisition…in preparation for future growth.

1. Wake County Public Schools…and credit this to the Wake County village of Cary, where  village council leaders voted last week to set aside $23 million for future land use, more than likely to be used for school construction. Town leaders estimate they will need as many as six new schools within the next 15-20 years, according to the News 14 report. Click here to read the story and watch the video.

2. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools…our progressive friends just a few miles to the west of us are already putting their 2006 bond money to use…by acquiring land for future school construction. The system plans to build about $250 million worth of school buildings over the next few years and school leaders have already begun the process of bidding out proposed projects. Click here to read this story and watch the video.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Required reading/viewing for Leo & Joe.

E.C. 🙂

Tonight’s BOE Meeting–Revised Agenda

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The revised agenda has hit the streets…tonight’s GCS Board meeting will be lengthy.

Of interest:

1. The “Super.” Search. This is an item, according to the agenda, that is slated for late in the meeting (this should have been the top item). I can’t wait to watch this discussion.

2. The following two items, in my opinion, are related, and should be combined. Click on the details for item “C” (this item is intriguing and I look forward to hearing and learning more):

C. Minority Male Initiative Report
At the meeting of January 31, 2008, Dr. Eric Becoats, chief of staff, will present to the board a report on the minority male initiative. If you have questions regarding this item, please contact Dr. Becoats at 378-8838, prior to the meeting.

D. Middle School Character Education Program Update
At the meeting of January 31, 2008, Dr. John Morris, chief student services officer, will present to the board an update on the middle school character education program. The presentation will focus on implementation of the goals, curriculum integration and collaboration with the Diversity Office and National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ). Highlighting school efforts and the next steps of implementation will also be discussed. If you have questions regarding this item, please contact Dr. Morris at 370-8380, prior to the meeting.


B. After-School Shared Use Libraries
At the meeting of January 31, 2008, Dr. Eric Becoats, chief of staff, will lead the board in a continued discussion regarding the after-school shared use libraries. If you have questions regarding this item, please contact Dr. Becoats at 378-8838, prior to the meeting.

Note…today’s N&R has a pretty good article on this. I’m for shared facilities. These are public buildings. These are the people’s buildings. If we can continue to identify shared uses for these buildings while they are sitting idle, it can only be a good thing.


If any of you Board members are reading this today, it would also be nice for you to make some sort of announcement during your closing comments as to who’s running and who’s not (reference my comments from yesterday).

It’s going to be a late night! You bring the soda, I’ll bring the popcorn.

E.C. 🙂

Grier on Grier…on FOX-8

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. FOX-8’s Neill McNeill did a candid one-on-one interview with Terry Grier on the 10:00 news last night. And ole’ Terry did not hold back, especially when questioned about the ongoing “feud” between the school board and the county commissioners.

Click here, sit back…and enjoy.

After you’re done, click here for the “stuff they didn’t show on TV.”

E.C. 🙂

Time to hold their feet to the fire

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. With less than two weeks to go before the February filing period begins, we still do not have definitive, on-the-record declarations from existing GCS Board members as to who will enter the race, who won’t, and who will retire off the Board.

As the tension mounts, it is way past-time for these individuals to start publicly making their intentions known.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. One new possible rumor, according to a poster on the Chalkboard, is that board member Dr. Walter Childs may retire off the board. Without confirmation, nor an official announcement, it is speculative.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. We’re still waiting to hear about Kris Cooke.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Darlene and Amos continue to hint of their running for reelection but no official announcements from them have been made yet.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. And yes, we’re still waiting on Dot…well, I’m not waiting.

I’d say, let’s start sending e-mails and making phone calls…start finding out who’s in and who’s not.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. I know, I know, we’re also waiting on Anita Sharpe. Rumors continue to swirl about her possible retirement off the board, but I will not comment about that until her intentions are officially made known. It would neither be fair, nor professional.

I mentioned Ms. Sharpe last because I’ve received a number of inquiries yesterday alone asking me if I would forgo running for the at-large seat, and instead consider running for the District 5 seat if Anita Sharpe decides to retire and step down after this year.

I appreciate the ongoing confidence you have in me. In terms of expense, a district race is much cheaper than an at-large race. The vote is the same, though.

My response is this…I’m examining all of the possible scenarios out there, including the one involving the District 5 seat should Ms. Sharpe decide to step down. Everything is purely speculative at this point, but some announcements from folks on the Board need to start coming. The clock is ticking.

I welcome your comments, as always.

E.C. 🙂

First day in new Guilford high school (N&R)

SchoolCenter PictureNorthern’s open.

And let me wish them the very best. We will keep our eyes out on them, for if things begin to deteriorate there, we will certainly bring this to our school board’s attention, as we’ve been doing for the past year. A brand new school has high hopes, and should not be permitted to fail.

An excerpt from today’s N&R:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. That feeling of belonging and school spirit will come, principal Joe Yeager said. “One day is not going to make a community, but you have to start somewhere and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.

For most of Tuesday, students from both high schools seemed awkward around each other while workers busied themselves painting walls and unfurling rolls of grass. At lunch, Northwest students ate on one side of the atrium, Northeast kids on the other.


E.C. 🙂

Duncan “thanks” Grier for years of service GCS Board chairman Alan “pass the buck” Duncan publicly thanks San Diego Superintendent Terry Grier on behalf of the school board for his “years of service” to the Peoples Republic of Guilford County, this in today’s News & Record:

School board appreciates Grier’s work

The following is a Counterpoint.

 By Alan Duncan

The Guilford County Board of Education would like to wish Superintendent Terry Grier well in his move to lead the San Diego Unified Schools and thank him for his efforts here. We have made great progress with Dr. Grier as superintendent during the past eight years, and we appreciate his efforts to improve the lives of our students.

Dr. Grier is an energetic and dynamic leader. His innovations related to creating schools and programs to serve the diverse needs of our students, his work to reduce the dropout rate and to increase our graduation rate, and his development and execution of the Home Field Advantage and Mission Possible programs are particularly noteworthy.

As Dr. Grier departs, we are extremely confident in, and most grateful for, the excellent staff currently serving the students of Guilford County and look forward to the future with assurance that the district is well poised to continue to strive, achieve and excel.

We will assemble leadership to carry us through the process of finding the next superintendent and will work with the community, parents and staff so that we involve all citizens in the process of finding a leader for the next chapter in the Guilford County Schools.

Meanwhile, we rest assured in knowing that students will be well cared for by our many outstanding employees, volunteers and supporters, who remain completely committed to making Guilford County Schools a district of excellence.

Alan Duncan is chairman of the Guilford County Board of Education. He wrote this column on behalf of the entire board.


E.C. 🙂