Board to vote publicly on Wake school chief's ousting

Posted March 19, 2010

— Wake County school board members on Tuesday are expected to take a public vote on their recent decision to place the system's outgoing superintendent on administrative leave.

The school board voted March 9 in closed session to remove Del Burns from his post after he criticized the school board and expressed concern over the direction it is headed under the new majority.

The move to ratify the decision at its March 23 public meeting comes after questions over the past week from local attorneys about whether the board violated open meeting laws when it made its decision.

The board met in three special closed sessions to discuss Burns' contract before coming to its decision last week. The vote also occurred in private, and those questioning the board have said it should have happened in public.

The school board's attorney, Ann Majestic, has said only a closed-session vote was needed because Burns was not fired.

Tuesday's school board's agenda, with the second vote included, was published on the same day an attorney for local media outlets, including WRAL News, sent a letter asking for such a public vote.

The decision to remove Burns, who announced last month that he's resigning June 30 – comes after comments he made in which he accused some board members of "political partisan gamesmanship" when it comes to educating students.

Donna Hargens, the system's chief academic officer, has temporarily taken over the superintendent post while the school board searches for Burns' replacement.


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  • seankelly15 Mar 19, 2010

    Two points: what does the fact that this is a right to work state (which only means that unions and collective bargaining are not allowed) have to do with putting Burns on administrative leave; and, the system is obligated to pay him because of the contract that both parties signed? What I find amazing is those of you that are willing to spend thousands of dollars in salary while he has an extended vacation. I

  • geosol Mar 19, 2010

    Does Art Pope get to vote, too? It would be a shame if he and the other far right activists didn't after spending so much money to buy their new friends a place on the board.

  • elcid liked Ike Mar 19, 2010

    "If NC is a right to work state, then why pay him until June?"

    He's employed under the terms of an employment contract, to which both he and the board are bound. It isn't that simple.

  • jcdavis805 Mar 19, 2010

    Burns acted unprofessionally. The Board did the right thing. Does the attorney for WRAL have nothing better to do?

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 19, 2010

    teacher56 has it correct. The vote is 5-4 with Hill, Mrs. Meeker, Morrison, and Sutton voting to keep him around.

  • Hans Mar 19, 2010

    See ya, wouldn't want to be ya, Burns!

  • james27613 Mar 19, 2010

    If NC is a right to work state, then why pay him until June?

    RIF him.

  • Newman Mar 19, 2010

    I was originally all for this new board but am having serious doubts. They aren't following any procedure - anything goes for some people, nothing for others. Why all the secrecy - why are meetings not what they're announced to be? Why the blindsiding?

  • teacher56 Mar 19, 2010

    Go ahead Wake BOE, make it public. We know how the vote went-- 5 to 4.

  • ncsudan Mar 19, 2010

    Closed session meetings were we are put on the hook for over a hundred G's, while he can sit at home and collect his salary. They should have re-assigned him to a different position, so we could at least get something for our money. Boy and I glad I don't have children in the Wake County Schools.