Education

No decision on Burns' future

Posted February 23, 2010
Updated March 1, 2010

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Wake County school board members will continue their discussion next month regarding a personnel matter that kept them in a closed-session meeting for nearly two hours Tuesday.

School board discusses Burns' future School board discusses Burns' future

Personnel matters are not part of the public record, but several board members, including Keith Sutton, said the meeting was to discuss the future of the school system's outgoing superintendent, Del Burns.

"We are working to some agreement, and I think we are pretty close,” Sutton said.

Last week, Burns, who is resigning June 30, spoke out against some of the school board's decisions and expressed concern about the direction of the school system under its leadership.

The board's new majority has made several changes since its first meeting in December and wants to move away from the system's decade-old policy of busing students for diversity reasons in exchange for neighborhood schools.

Burns accused the board of "partisan political gamesmanship" and said ending the diversity policy would segregate rich schools and poor schools in the school system.

Several community groups have called for Burns' immediate removal, while others have come to his defense. Board members also appear to be divided with many on the new majority offended and concerned about the ability to work with him for the next four months.

Burns was not in attendance Tuesday night and his name card at the table was turned face down.

"I felt it were better that he not be here," board Chairman Ron Margiotta said. "It's a bit uncomfortable."

It would take five votes to remove Burns. A decision was not reached Tuesday, and members plan to take up the issue again on March 2.

"It gives us more time to deliberate and think through what has happened, and what needs to happen," Sutton said.

Parents weigh in on year-round schools

School board members also heard from the public Tuesday evening about year-round schools.

About 350 parents showed up at Leesville High School for the forum and to voice their opinions on whether the board should make student assignment changes.

“I am overwhelming in support of keeping Leesville Elementary and Leesville Middle as year-round calendar schools,” parent Dana Dismukes told the board.

Those against year-round schools argued that they have not eased overcrowding and that they create a hardship for families.

"Our community has been divided as many families have taken their children out of Leesville schools in order to attend a traditional magnet or private school," parent Dodie York said.

Two years ago, the school system converted 22 elementary and middle schools to mandatory year-round calendars to help keep up with enrollment growth and save money on school construction.

The board voted last month to overturn the mandatory year-round policy. The meeting the third in a series of four is to help board members decide on future school calendars.

Another public forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Panther Creek High School, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary.

24 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • dlentz2 Feb 24, 2010

    They need to leave Burns and let him finish until June. There's not enough money now to pay the teachers, builds new schools, etc. How are they going to pay Burns and his replacement? They don't have the right to spend tax payers money just because they don't like what he says. There's alot more to being on the school board than having everything their way.

  • mrsmom Feb 24, 2010

    re: "Glad to see the new board actually use their brains and some restraint for once."

    Is it possible that one of the new board members is learning that there is more power being the rational swing vote than part of an irrational bulldozing click or was there no action because 5 votes are needed for dismissal? Oh to be the fly on the wall...

  • superman Feb 24, 2010

    Any person working should have the right to express a difference of opinion on any issue. The boss should listen and then make a decision based on all the facts. It is a diservice to see someone who may be making a mistake not to advise them. Dr. Burns is a well educated profession with years of experience. He was correct in giving him opinion. However, all said and done, the board members can make up their own mind and make their own decision. Community schools mean segreation again and that wont happen. Dr. Burns is not afraid of the board and I am glad he has stood up to them and will continue to do so. He has given his professional notice. They should turn their attention to the new budget and to hiring a new Supt. I have a feeling that no administrator in the school system will support the ending of diversity. So if Dr. Burns leaves now-- who they going to put in charge? They cant even beging to hire a new Supt by July.

  • Unaffiliated Patriot Feb 24, 2010

    In essence, Burns is saying he can't handle it when things don't go his way, he can't accept not being in control, and he cannot work with people who disagree with him. He should be gone already.

  • lizard Feb 24, 2010

    Burns needs to go. Many people are afraid of change. Need to change supr.

  • rescuefan Feb 24, 2010

    "Why don't we let the citizens of Wake County vote on this? We could have a referendum, a vote for the new board means he goes now, a vote for Mr. Burns means the new board members resign. The voters and taxpayers will have spoken, either we support the new boards policies, or we don't. What do you want to bet Magnotti and gang would be to afraid to agree to this?
    Mr. Middle of the Road"

    Wouldn't it be great if we could do this? I love it!

  • gotsomesense Feb 24, 2010

    cwood3

    Makes a lot of sense to me...

  • cwood3 Feb 24, 2010

    For those of you concerned about the closed door meeting, when they discuss personnel matters, the doors must be closed by state law. That being said, both the BoE and Dr. Burns have run their mouths to much. They need to all back off and get along until Dr. Burns retires the end of June. This can happen-if they WANT TO!!

    Concerning the politicalization of the board, one does not have to have a D or R behind their name to figure out how they will act. Listen!!! For years, Raleigh and Wake Co. have voted to the left and bused kids all over the county. They have crammed diversity and multi culturalism down everybody's throat.

    Voters have heard and had enough. Don't you see that!!! Yes, it's about the kids!! It's about kids that get on buses at 6:30AM and get off a bus at 5:30PM to satisfy some bleeding heart liberal. And they're thing about the children??? In your dreams.

    Liberals don't like the Tea Party movement, but it's real people. So is this. These folks voted for CHANGE!

  • SME2 Feb 24, 2010

    Glad to see the new board actually use their brains and some restraint for once.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Feb 24, 2010

    Why don't we let the citizens of Wake County vote on this? We could have a referendum, a vote for the new board means he goes now, a vote for Mr. Burns means the new board members resign. The voters and taxpayers will have spoken, either we support the new boards policies, or we don't. What do you want to bet Magnotti and gang would be to afraid to agree to this?

More...