WAKE COUNTY – More than 80 high-level business executives from across Wake County met today with elected officials and school leaders to discuss issues facing the Wake County Public School System. “The State of Our Schools: An Executive Forum on Public Education in Wake County,” hosted by Wake Education Partnership, covered topics including the operating budget, the proposed school bond, and ways the business community can be involved in cultivating a successful district.

David Cooke, Patti Head and Tony Gurley listen to questions during the panel discussion at today’s Executive Forum.

“Wake County and its businesses are reaping the benefits and facing the challenges of having a successful community which draws people from around the state, the nation and other parts of the world. Our school system is one of the key factors in attracting people to Wake County,” said J. Blount Williams, chair of the Partnership’s Board of Directors and president of Alfred Williams & Company. “As Wake County business leaders, we must examine our role in addressing these challenges to ensure our community continues to have excellent schools.”

The invitation-only meeting, held Thursday morning at the Cardinal Club in Raleigh, served to foster deeper and more focused dialogue between the business community and the school system and elected leaders in Wake County. Speakers and panelists at the meeting included WCPSS Superintendent Bill McNeal, incoming Superintendent Del Burns, Wake County Manager David Cooke, Wake County Board of Education Chair Patti Head and Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Tony Gurley.

“This is such a critical year for education in Wake County. The decisions our community makes over the next few months could have implications for decades to come,” said Wake Education Partnership President Robert Saffold. “The Partnership believes that by engaging key business and government leaders on these and other important education issues, Wake County can continue to pursue a vision of excellence for all students.”

Topics explored with our top local education and government officials include:

  • Progress in student achievement since the adoption of Goal 2003 in 1998, and Goal 2008 five years later;
  • Major challenges facing Wake County public schools, and how business, political, education and community leaders can collaborate to address them; and
  • Wake County Public School System’s fiscal year 2007 operating and capital budget requests and their impact on our community.