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updated: 8/29/2011 11:22 PM

Cary parents unite against Dist. 26 leaders

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Parents in Cary want to build a better brand for a town that is divided over the state of education in Cary Elementary District 26.

About 30 parents, members of the group District 26 Parents with A Voice, met Monday to discuss a game plan to encourage a united front for better schools in Cary. And the first action was to release a petition showing that parents do not support the leaders of the school district.

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"We want to show that we don't have a lot of confidence in the current board and administration," said Stephanie Schaefer, whose 6-year-old daughter attends Deer Path Elementary School.

In addition, members will organize a rally to encourage the community to stand up for better schools in Cary, where drastic cuts over the past three years have led to one-third of the teaching staff being laid off and music and art being eliminated.

"We need to decide if we do something, we need to do something proactive and healthy that people on both sides of the fence can agree on," said Craig O'Keefe, a father with one child in the district.

"We can all stand together, no matter what you feel," Schaefer said. "It is a positive and you can't argue with that."

Ken Hillman, a moderator of the Facebook group of the same name, said the group is concerned about three issues in the district: the way the district has handled negotiations with the teachers union, a lack of transparency, and the administration breaking its own policies.

"We have been trying to ask questions of the board, and they have not been answered," Hillman said. "Now we are taking the next step because our voice isn't being heard and we're done with it."

The Facebook page, District 26 Parents with a Voice, which has about 600 members, released the petition of no confidence Monday night. No details were immediately available for the proposed rally.

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