Differences that have split the Wake County school board were put aside Tuesday, at least temporarily, to honor the three departing board members.
Tuesday marked the final meeting for Republican school board Chairman Ron Margiotta, who was defeated in his re-election bid last month.
It was also the last meeting for Democratic school board members Anne McLaurin and Carolyn Morrison, both of whom decided not to run this year.
"I know we didn't always agree on things, but eight years of serving Wake County is greatly appreciated," Democratic school board member Kevin Hill told Margiotta.
Over the past two years, the board has split along party lines on a number of key votes such as eliminating the use of socioeconomic diversity in student assignment.
Margiotta said he felt the board had worked well together to bring many positive changes in the school district.
"It certainly wasn't easy, but I can't say I would look back and do anything differently," Margiotta said.
This fall's election results means the board will go from a 5-4 Republican majority to a 5-4 Democratic majority. Margiotta urged the new board members to work with the Wake County Commissioners and Superintendent Tony Tata.
Margiotta also encouraged the new board members "to seek new and innovative approaches" and not go back to "the old solutions."
Margiotta received praise from his fellow Republican members.
"I really feel that Ron didn't have a personal agenda," GOP board member Deborah Prickett said. "He had an agenda to help the community as he saw best."
Board members also praised Morrison for her more than 40 years of service to Wake County. McLaurin was praised for her commitment to healthful living for students and board members.