Wake Ed

Christine Kushner makes history at Wake County school board meeting

Wake County School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner speaks during a press conference regarding Wake County make-up days following an afternoon school board committee meeting Monday, March 9, 2015 at the Wake County Public School System Central Administration Building in Cary, N.C.
Wake County School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner speaks during a press conference regarding Wake County make-up days following an afternoon school board committee meeting Monday, March 9, 2015 at the Wake County Public School System Central Administration Building in Cary, N.C. jhknight@newsobserver.com

Christine Kushner made history this week by becoming the first Wake County school board member to attend a meeting virtually.

Kushner, who is overseas traveling with her husband, phoned into Tuesday’s board meeting. She listened to discussions and voted on agenda items as her voice came through the speakers in the board room.

Before Kushner gave her opening comments, school board Chairman Tom Benton quipped to the audience that they were “getting ready to be a part of history.”

After Kushner thanked the board for allowing her to participate at the meeting, Benton drew laughs from the crowd when he said “now history has been made.”

Kushner’s votes typically came in a few seconds after her colleagues spoke. “

“We have to wait for the transatlantic delay,” said school board member Bill Fletcher, who also drew laughs.

Kushner was able to participate because the school board approved in March a new “remote participation in board meetings” policy. The policy allows board members to participate remotely in any meeting that is not a closed session, a hearing appeal or other quasi-judicial proceeding.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board’s policy committee discussed Wednesday how its board members are allowed to participate remotely at meeting but not to vote. But the Charlotte Observer reported that it appears that the policy committee didn’t seem to think a change was needed.

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