Wake Ed

March 24, 2014

Wake County schools not looking to hire lobbyist

Wake County school board member Keith Sutton, chairman of the new government relations committee, said he's not recommending that the district hire a lobbyist this year to press the district's case at the General Assembly.

Wake County school board member Keith Sutton is not recommending that the school board hire a lobbyist this year.

At the first meeting today of the board’s new government relations committee, Sutton said he didn’t see a need to hire a lobbyist for the short session of the General Assembly that begins in May. Last year, the school board voted to pay up to $35,000 to Theresa Kostrzewa’s firm to help block the bill that would given school construction authority to the county commissioners.

But Sutton, chairman of the new committee, said today that he sees the need to again have a legislative affairs liaison to help monitor what’s going on in the General Assembly. Last year, the school board had voted to pay up to $25,000 to Courtney Crowder’s firm to do the liaison job.

Sutton noted how the school board used to have on staff a person to be the liaison until the position was eliminated in 2011 to save money.

Sutton said the liaison can help school board members as they work on a strategy for asking legislators to repeal the new requirement that districts offer contracts with $500 bonuses to entice 25 percent of their teachers to surrender their career status, commonly called tenure. The resolution adopted by the board on March 4 asks that Wake be allowed to keep its share of the statewide $10 million pot for bonuses “as part of a locally-developed compensation plan that will be used to recruit and retain professional teachers.”

Superintendent Jim Merrill said that staff could have the “framework” for a new plan ready for when the legislature reconvenes.

Click here for an online story with more about the discussion of the new plan.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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