Tedesco: Working with Burns will be 'a challenge'

Posted February 18, 2010
Updated February 19, 2010

— At least two newly elected Wake County Board of Education members said Thursday they aren't sure they can continue to work with Superintendent Del Burns after his criticism over the direction the board is moving in.

“If our superintendent does not want to help us respond to our citizens, that is why we have a democracy and we are going to have to do what we need to do,” District 2 board member John Tedesco said.

Wake County Public School System School board members react to Burns' comments

On Tuesday, Burns announced to the Wake County Board of Education his plans to resign June 30. He cited “personal and obligatory considerations” as the reasons.

Burns said Thursday that educating students in the county has become more about "partisan political gamesmanship" than what's best for children.

"This should be about the children. It should be nonpartisan. I've not experienced the discussion around political parties in a board election or in the work of the board the way I have in the last few months," Burns said.

Tedesco said it is going to be “a challenge” working with Burns.

“I don’t know how we are going to be able to work with him for those four months,” he said.

Board member Chris Malone wonders why Burns did not resign earlier.

Board member Anne McLaurin said Burns is true to his beliefs.

“He is a man of great integrity and he cannot lead the school system in a way he does not think is best for the students,” she said.

Deborah Prickett, part of the newly elected majority, thinks she can continue to work with the superintendent for the next few months. “I think he does have integrity and I think he will try to do the very best he can,” she said.

One of the biggest differences in opinion between Burns and the board is a decade-old student assignment policy that requires the busing of students.

The school district assigns students so that no school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. Students are reassigned each year to maintain that level, as well as to fill new schools and relieve overcrowding.

Newly elected school board members have said they want to end the policy in favor of a neighborhood school model.

“That will result in segregating rich school and poor schools in the Wake County Public School System and that concerns me greatly,” Burns said.

Most parents who attended a public forum on year-round schools held Thursday at Heritage High School in Wake Forest were in favor of having their children learn closer to home.

“For my child to go to the school she is districted to it takes an hour and 45 minutes,” parent Walter Tun said.

Shinica Thomas said she is concerned she will not be able to continue volunteering at her son’s school because it is too far away.

Wake Forest Commissioner Peter Thibodeau said the parents who oppose the policy are the minority.

“(The board’s) responsibility is to provide leadership and governance to all, not just the small fraction of the constituents dissatisfied with the school system,” he said.

Wake County Board of Education committee has been holding meetings to discuss the assignment policy. They plan to make a recommendation to full board.

Other public forums on year-round schools are:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Leesville Road High School, 8409 Leesville Road, Raleigh
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 at Panther Creek High School, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary

Each meeting runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the schools' auditoriums.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 19, 2010

    If they don't fire Burns for cause, they should give him a paid vacation until June.

    This will ensure that he doesn't sabotage the efforts of the duly elected school board.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 19, 2010

    The opponents of the duly elected school board are saying that only 11% of registered voters voted during the last school board election.

    That's not entirely true. Only four of the nine districts had elections.

    If you do a little extrapolation, if all nine districts had had elections, the 11% grows to 24.75% of registered voters.

    Not too shabby.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 19, 2010

    Since he hid the SAS report from the school board and the public that showed his socio-economic diversity (race) based diversity policy was a failure, they also be able to fire him for this as well under misconduct and lying.

    Burns has firing for cause written all over him.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 19, 2010

    "Lets see. He was hired to do a job. He is being paid to do a job. He has publicly stated he is unwilling to do the job."

    This is insubordination.

    They should be able to easily fire him for cause unless a liberal judge protects Burns the liberal and socialist ideologue.

  • Arrggghhhh Feb 19, 2010

    Thank you Retro..WCPSS has been in the social engineering business that sometimes had to teach students.

  • 5Rs Feb 19, 2010

    For 20 years, the focus on Wake County education has been all about busing and diversity.

    When will the focus be on Education?

  • Da Toy Maker Feb 19, 2010

    "The two schools that always make the national list are the magnet highschools Broughton and Enloe which WCPSS spends extra money on.

    Take Broughton and Enloe out of the list for comparison purposes and you'll see how poor of an education the non-privileged non-magnet kids get in Wake County."

    Ain't Broughton and Enloe product of the old "Diversity" policy? I thought all the magnet schools were created to draw the "well to do" to send their kids to certain neighborhood schools. At least that is the impression I got. I personally thought it is innovate idea (or what ever it should be called): How to get the rich families fighting for a spot in the normally undesirable neighborhood.

    The current situation is getting to be extremely interesting. Fortunately for me, one more year and my kid will be off to college. Whatever will come after that won't be matter as much except if we will have to pay higher property tax which I personally see will be for sure.

  • Da Toy Maker Feb 19, 2010

    "In any case, as I've said, all of you are getting bogged down in the emotional aspects of this thing.

    Folks who won - you don't have to defend your legitimacy. You won. It's legitimate. Now get to work.

    Folks who lost - we lost. Get over it and let them do their thing. If they succeed, as I've already said, then were were wrong and deserved to lose. If they fail, then we'll certainly have an opportunity in the future to replace them.

    Enough with the righteous indignation. Get to work.

    This is most reasonable comment here.

    For those who want to have good neighborhood schools, I guess you are looking to get what NJ School systems have. Please check the Property tax rate of good school systems in NJ.

  • Arrggghhhh Feb 19, 2010

    Here's a recap--he won an election with very low turn out against a candidate who quit months before the vote. When the other team doesn't show up it's called a forfeiture, not a mandate.

    Heres a recap: that was the run off election, the first election he was just a few votes shy of 50% in a 5 person race. Humm 49% Tedesco 50% split by 4 others. Then he won the run off by I beleive it was 78%. Bottom line if only 1 person voted in the district and that vote was for Tedesco HE WON. He is the winner, stop whinning about low voter turnout. Whine all you want he is still the winner, the other 3 won and with Ron they are the majority. I dont recall all the complains about low voter turnout in past elections, or was it because canidates you supported won?

  • clickclackity2 Feb 19, 2010

    The kids used to go to Wildwood Forest Elementary but they were moved to Fox Road Elementary because they needed more upper income kids in Fox Road to offset the high number of F/R lunches at Fox Road.

    Tarheels...YOU NEED TO GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT! And stop going off of what you think is the scenario. It's laughable. While I can't speak on Durant Rd or Wildwood, I can speak on Fox Road. Fox Road Elem IS MOSTLY MINORITIES! Actually about 90%. So your little theory that the 100 or so non-minorities that were reassigned to the school are upper income...YOU WISH! Most of those 90% of minority kids at Fox Road ARE upper income. The changes in which you speak of at Fox Road was due to OVERCROWDING in Wake County Schools not free lunches of MINORITIES! And I bet some of those kids that were reassigned TO Fox Road were actually FREE/REDUCED LUNCH kids...NOT UPPER INCOME Kids.