RALEIGH -- Wake School Board member John Tedesco missed Tuesday night's meeting. He was in Winston-Salem taking part in a Republican primary debate.
Tedesco is running for state superintendent.
One speaker during the public comment section of the meeting pointed out Tedesco's absence.
“Mr. Tedesco is neglecting his duties on this board today to campaign at a Tea Party debate in Winston-Salem,” said Wake parent Amy Lee.
His decision to attend the debate has some people, like Seth Keel, calling for his resignation. Keel is part of a group that has urged Tedesco and other board members to resign if they chose to run for higher office.
“It just shows he's putting politics ahead of wake schools and students,” Keel said. “If he's going to commit himself to the campaign trail, he needs to resign from the school board. If he's still going to be focused on the best interest of Wake County students, if he's still going to be focused on serving the students in Wake County, he should remain on the school board. But right now, he's putting politics over students and that can't be happening.”
Board member Debra Goldman is running for state auditor. She turned down her invitation to the same debate Tuesday in order to attend the board meeting.
“It's very difficult to turn down an opportunity to share my views, my platforms, my beliefs, but you have to weigh it out,” she said. “I need people to understand that when I'm sworn in to do a job, I will do that job.”
Tedesco said he agreed to participate in the debate months ago, long before the school board scheduled the special called meeting.
He notes Goldman was invited to participate after the board meeting was set.
“When this was added last minute to the agenda as a special meeting, unfortunately, I had already made a previous commitment that I wanted to honor,” he said.
Tedesco said he has turned down other campaign appearance requests because of school board meetings and he has no intention of resigning his seat.
He also pointed out several other board members have missed special called meetings for a variety of reasons, including vacation plans.