Wake County is the largest school district in the state and the fifteenth largest nationwide. WCPSS has tens of thousands of employees and a current operating budget of $1.94 billion. The district has 198 schools and an estimated158,761 students.
Jim Martin, Christine Kushner, Karen Carter, Roxie Cash, and Heather Scott are the five incumbents not seeking another term. Martin and Kushner are the longest-serving board members having been first elected in 2011. Carter is the newest member, elected for the first time in 2020.
During the pandemic, parents held protests outside of the district headquarters over the board’s continued forced use of masks in schools as districts across the state ended their use. Parents and citizens also protested inappropriate materials, books critics deemed pornographic, as well as teacher training in Critical Race Theory and use of the controversial theory in classroom lessons.
The WCPSS board also faced controversy over the replacement of former Board Chairman Keith Sutton after it was revealed that the candidate preferred by the majority of the board, Craston Artis, did not live in the district he sought to serve. Parents criticized Mahaffey over a lack of transparency on the matter.