Wake School Board District 7: Zora Felton

Zora Felton

Zora Felton
District: Wake County School Board District 7
Age: 62
Occupation: Retired July 1 from Wake County Schools. Taught for 25 years.
City of Residence: Raleigh
Incumbent: No
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Do you have children in the district? If so, explain.

All three of my children graduated from Wake County Schools. My oldest child is 32; my youngest is 26. They all attended public universities. Public education serves them well.
The school board has been divided over partisan politics in recent years. How do you think that's effected how the district has been run?

I think that partisan politics is the worst thing that’s happened to the school board and I would like to see that disappear. Years ago, I forget who wrote the editorial, said people didn’t even know who was on the school board – school was going fine, we were doing well. Wake County was one of the top school systems in the entire nation. People couldn’t name you a school board member. Then it became very divided after 2009 and it became very partisan, which I think is a shame. I think we should all work together for the betterment of our children and to put students first.

What do you think about the current reassignment plan and what would you do, if anything to change it?

I think that’s a very difficult question to answer because Wake County is such a high growth area. They predict that by 2016, which is not that far away really, there will be an additional 20,000 new students to Wake County. So when you’re talking about reassignment we can’t all stay at the same place, we’ve got to pass that school bond issue in Wake County. We have to have more schools, there’s no doubt in my mind. I know parents become very territorial about where they want their children to go to school. This is not a new problem for Wake County. I came to Wake County in 1964 and in that time my parents bought a house that was in a high-growth area and during that period from the 8th-12th grade I went to four different schools. So it’s not a new issue. I mean how do you deal with growth? I think the main thing is that we continue to put our students first and do what’s best for them.

What is your main priority for the new superintendent for the next year or two?

I hope that he can bring, and I think that he can bring, stability to this county. This county has been divisive and the school board has been divisive. I think he does offer that from his experience in the county when he was here before and I think he is going to work on maintaining a stability in this county and for the students of Wake County.

Do you support the proposed school bond? And, if so, what are your priorities for spending that money?

I have to support the school bond issue. What do you do with 20,000 extra students? Let them go to school at a Food Lion? I can’t imagine anybody who would not support the school bond issue. We’re going to need those schools, and the projections I read that we need 16 new schools, and they’re expensive. I also have looked at renovations. In my precinct they are looking at two high schools, at least one middle school, there is a low-priority middle school that is a year-round school, and then I think there are five elementary schools. So that’s what you call a high-growth area. So we have all these people – we want all these people to come to Wake County because they’ve heard such wonderful things, so now we need to provide places for the children to go to school and high-quality teachers and high-quality places.

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