Wake County Schools

Tata reflects on one year on the job

Posted January 30, 2012

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— Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata said Monday that he is confident the school system is headed in the right direction, especially with its new choice-model student assignment plan.

In an interview with WRAL News, Tata reflected on his first year on the job and stressed that the new assignment plan will remain one of his top priorities.

About 12,000 parents have already logged in online to choose and rank which schools they want their children to attend for the 2012-13 school year, he said.

Their choices are based on their address and include at least five elementary, two middle and two high schools. Those schools are a combination of traditional calendar, year-round calendar, magnet and other specialty options.

The school system will begin notifying parents in mid-March of their assignments.

Tata said he believes most parents are happy with the new plan.

One year in, Tata says Wake schools are on track One year in, Tata says Wake schools are on right track

Tata acknowledged there are some still concerned about feeder patterns and capacity, but he said his assignment team is closely monitoring and evaluating those issues.

"We are watching those areas very closely, and I think it's a little too soon to tell right now," he said. 

In his first year, Tata visited nearly all 165 schools and listened to teachers. Those experiences are a key part of the job, he said.

"I have no expectation that everybody is perfect and that we are going to have perfection right out of the gate," Tata said. "I just want everybody to do the very best that they can, apply best practices." 

The biggest challenges ahead include protecting teachers and classrooms in next year’s budget, when about $28 million in federal funds ends, Tata said.

"My goal is not to cut a single employee from this system this year, and the budget that we will present I think will get us there," he said.

In November, the balance of power on the school board shifted away from the Republican-backed majority that hired Tata, but he isn't worried that it will impact his mission. 

"I don't think it impacts it at all," he said. "We are all focused on student achievement and what's the best thing for the district." 

Last March, the Wake County Public School System faced the possibility of losing its accreditation in the wake of an NAACP complaint against it. Tata says a recent positive progress report by accreditation group AdvancED shows things are on track.

"I do believe that we are moving in the right direction," he said. "I think that AdvancED report really bears that out. So, if you had stock in the first one, you've got to have stock in this one." 

28 Comments

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  • superman Jan 31, 7:43 p.m.

    The board was notified that they would not receive a 30 million grant. I never said what grant or why it was not awarded. The grant was given to another school. My mention of 100 million was in reference to the estimated total grant money the school receives each year. My guess is that when the plan is implemented that it will be challenged in federal court which could result in funds being withheld pending the outcome of the case. I saw on TV this evening that they are going to use 25,000 for each school for technology from construction bond money. As a former school finance officer the use of bond money for anything other than school construction is illegal and the funds will have to be repaid. It could certainly be challenged by any group in court

  • superman Jan 31, 7:32 p.m.

    Of course they didnt "loose" a grant. It was given to another school. They didnt get it--it was given to another school. The new assignment plan is just a brand new version of "muscial chairs". Studenst either will apply to the underutilized schools or the board will make the assignment. The chairs wont change--just a different person in the chair. The plan is like allowing your child to write a letter to Santa-- you can ask for anything and everything you want--that in no way means you going to get what you want. Same chairs--different students.

  • barbstillkickin Jan 31, 2:12 p.m.

    Tata has made a dent in what was a horrible situation before he came in. I do not even have kids in school but I watch and I can see a man who really cares for a change and he is trying to do the best he can when this so called Governor who all of a sudden cares for the children cut the budget so bad that we should have lost many teachers but Tata has manged to keep the people who mean the most to the children. Their Teachers. Koodo's Mr. Tata

  • Nancy Jan 31, 8:25 a.m.

    hhhmmm, even AdvancED, who came in guns blazing, spoke with community members and teachers and heard great praise for Tata.

    Guess the people who spoke down about him before he was even hired just can't find a friend to help beat him down huh?

  • beaupeep Jan 30, 6:30 p.m.

    "Then maybe he could explain why the board wasted 3 million when they changed the location of a new high school"

    again, superman, again? you must have lost out on a contract for hauling rocks out of that totally innapropriate spot. Let me repeat, the (old), old board bought that property from their friends for kickbacks. It never WAS a good site. Follow the money

  • vraptor Jan 30, 5:51 p.m.

    general tata. you are doing a great job.

  • cantstandgoloanymore Jan 30, 4:20 p.m.

    Correction, they were seated in January of 2010 after the 2009 elections. still quite a bit before the September rejection of the application.

  • bill0 Jan 30, 4:19 p.m.

    "Never was Wake County denied a grant or funding for magnet programs because of the board removing the word "diversity" from local policy. "

    The Feds officially refused to comment on why they denied the applications. Here are the first 3 criteria for the grant though. See if you think removing diversity could have had an impact.

    "PURPOSE 1: The elimination, reduction, or prevention of
    minority-group isolation.
    PURPOSE 2: The development of magnet school programs
    that provide all students the opportunity to meet challenging
    student academic achievement standards.
    PURPOSE 3: The development and design of innovative
    educational methods and practices that promote diversity and increase choices in public schools."

    A commitment to diversity was a requirement for the grant, so taking that out of the official policy pretty much assured the grant wouldn't be approved.

  • cantstandgoloanymore Jan 30, 4:17 p.m.

    westernwake1 - Not true. The applications denial was announced in September 2010 (Republican majority was already seated in 2009) with the review being completed in October 2010 and a further denial to review occurring in November. Its denial was still before Tata became Superintendent in January 2011, which was my point.

  • bradsher98 Jan 30, 3:58 p.m.

    Tony Tata spoke to my North Raleigh Exchange Club today at the ardinal Club. He spoke about the assignment plan. He also answered questions from our members. He was very succinct in his answers. We need more of him and less of the board bickering. It is not about race.

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