Wake County Schools

NAACP attacks Tata for remarks involving community group

Posted February 23, 2012

— The state branch of the NAACP is attacking Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata for comments he made about a community group that attacked his truthfulness last week. 

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition charged last Friday that Tata was using a proposed shift in school schedules for next fall to hide the costs of the parental-choice student assignment plan that his staff is implementing.

In an email sent Saturday morning to members of the Wake County Board of Education and a few senior staffers at the Wake County Public School System, Tata said he wanted to know if board members Christine Kushner and Susan Evans knew of the group's allegations in advance.

"Given each of your professed deep involvement in and adherence to the principles of this group, I am concerned that you endorse their attacks on me and my staff (unless of course you state publicly that you do not endorse them)," Tata wrote.

"Truthfully, I am having a hard time understanding your public endorsement of and involvement in this group that so fervently attacks me and my staff while each of you claims to want to have a professional relationship with us," he continued. "Attacks on my character such as those yesterday, which each of you implicitly endorse through your association and support of GSIW, undermine our ability to move forward as an effective governance team, in my view."

Evans and Kushner both fired back later Saturday, saying they haven't been involved with Great Schools in Wake since they were elected to the school board last fall. They took offense to his accusations and said he should have discussed the matter with them privately instead of in a mass email.

Tata responded Sunday evening with a conciliatory message, saying he sought some "clarity" regarding their current relationship with Great Schools in Wake.

On Thursday evening, Rev. William Barber fired back in an open letter to Tata, saying that his attacks on Great Schools in Wake, "also attacked the teachers, parents, and children to whom this organization devotes itself."

"Ms. Evans and Ms. Kushner, along with several other members of the board, have been patient and generous with you. They went a long way – too far, we thought – to compromise by supporting your school assignment plan, even though it ignores the commitment to diversity and the promise not to go backwards to segregated schools that got them elected to the school board. They took considerable criticism, from us and even Great Schools in Wake, for their willingness to trust in your leadership, good faith and a plan that has already indicated will result in re-segregation," Barber continued. 

Under the new assignment plan, parents can choose from at least five elementary, two middle and two high schools, based on their address. The schools are a combination of traditional-calendar, year-round calendar, magnet and other specialty options.

The plan was created after the board decided to stop using busing to balance socio-economic diversity across schools and place more emphasis on allowing students to attend schools closer to their homes.

Great Schools in Wake wants the school district to publicly disclose the financial analysis used in drafting the plan. Chairwoman Yevonne Brannon alleged that changes to school schedules, which Tata has said could save up to $10 million in transportation costs, have been proposed to disguise the assignment plan's costs.

Some parents have balked at the schedule changes, noting that they would affect their ability to drop children off in the morning before work, volunteer at school and children's after-school schedules.

If the school board approves the schedule changes, Tata said parents would be allowed to switch their school choices so the hours of their selected schools meet their needs.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • piene2 Feb 27, 2012

    "well it's the NAALCP L standing for liberal. barbour will jump on anythang that he can create or manipulate into a controversy........i think thats readily apparent to anyone who remotely follows his antics. get a job barbour

    Well it is apparent to bigots.

  • Ex-Republican Feb 24, 2012

    Tata didn't "attack" anyone. Nothing here says anything about calling anyone a derogatory name or questioning their honor.

    Barber and the NAACP need to back off and have have a "come to Jesus" moment. All they do is rabel-rouse. As a black man the NAACP doesn't represent me or my interests. They are just making it harder for all of us to get along

  • justiceforall Feb 24, 2012

    NAACP is a joke.

  • arfamr1007 Feb 24, 2012

    Backstabbing liberals? No way. And the NAACP supports raced based bussing. Nuff said

  • babbleon Feb 24, 2012

    Um, in general I agree with Great Schools in Wake and NAACP, but I fail to see how Tata's asking if his bosses think he's lying is an attack.

  • clearwaterman Feb 24, 2012

    Sounds like one great big economy sized mess!! Everyone is crying like the red was licked off their candy!! But then again what do you expect from a government run school program!

  • randall0123a Feb 24, 2012

    “News Flash! Any person or organization has a right to their opinion.” – Superman

    This is correct. If the NAACP wants to demonstrate what defines a hypocrite, then they are free to do so. Likewise, the people making comments on this site are free to do so. So then why do you get upset by the comments on here? As per your own admission, right or wrong, everyone has the right to express their opinion. This sounds a little hypocritical on your behalf.

  • westernwake1 Feb 24, 2012

    "Tata and the prior board specifically refuses to give any estimates on what this might cost." - bill0

    This is not true, they provided verbal estimates of ranges in public forums. Never in the history of Wake County Schools has a preliminay written budget been delivered before the end of March. The timeline for the budget is:

    Jan - Mar: Executive staff prepares budget.
    April: Public Hearing on Budget
    May: Submit to County Commissioners
    June: BOE adopts budget.

    May I also state that failure to follow this timeline for the budget violates state law (i.e. you can not show up early with a budget).

    Here is a link to the Budget process:

    The people making a fuss about a lack of budget (such as Great Schools in Wake) know very well there is a required budget process each year with defined milestones. They are making a huge public controversy about the "lack" a written budget and not stating facts.

  • wildpig777 Feb 24, 2012

    well it's the NAALCP L standing for liberal. barbour will jump on anythang that he can create or manipulate into a controversy........i think thats readily apparent to anyone who remotely follows his antics. get a job barbour

  • superman Feb 24, 2012

    News Flash! Any person or organization has a right to their opinion. Do you remember a white group--Wake Cares-- they had a difference of opinion--took them to court and won their case. When you attack a group saying they are racist you have 4 fingers pointing back at yourself. Mr. Barber represents a very large group in North Carolina. I dont support his views but I do support his right to voice his concerns. Would you like anyone who has a different opinion of yours executed? When this policy is actually put into place-you can expect legal action that may take years to settle. It aint over until the fat lady sings. I think the board and the Supt. dont have a clue as to what they are doing.