Wake County Schools

Wake parents worried that Tony Tata's job is in jeopardy

Posted September 21, 2012
Updated September 24, 2012

— The PTA of a Raleigh elementary school is urging parents to show their support for Wake County school Superintendent Tony Tata, saying they are worried that his job could be in jeopardy.

The Hilburn Academy PTA sent an email to parents and school staff Friday afternoon, asking that they call school board members and send them emails before Monday, when the school board is scheduled to meet to take up personnel matters.

"It has come to the PTA's attention that there may be efforts among a group of Wake County school board members to remove Superintendent Tata from his position," the email said.

Monday's meeting, scheduled for 12:30 p.m., is closed, because, under state law, personnel matters are confidential.

Tata, whose contract doesn't end until June 2014, could not be reached for comment.

School board members who were contacted by WRAL News Friday afternoon said they cannot discuss the subject matter of the meeting.

But WRAL News has learned that there has been scrutiny over Tata's job performance among school board members. The most recent concerns centering on a flood of complaints over school buses showing up late or not showing up at all at stops when school began last month.

The district had taken dozens of buses out of service this school year in an effort to cut costs, but added about three dozen back after parents voiced their concerns. Those complaints also led Tata to apologize publically to parents.

Tata, a former brigadier general, was named Wake schools superintendent in December 2010, but his appointment was not without controversy as educators, parents, community groups and some school board members expressed concern about his lack of experience in education.

Prior to Wake schools, he served for about 18 months as the chief operating officer for District of Columbia Public Schools, where he oversaw purchasing, food service, technology and other support areas.

Since then, the school board has changed both politically and philosophically, especially when it comes to assigning students to Wake County schools.

The Republican-led board that voted Tata into the post pushed for changing the school system's longstanding policy of busing students across the district for diversity purposes to a model in which students go to school closer to their homes.

Tata led the efforts to implement the new plan, which the board's current Democratic majority is now looking to change after being in place less than a year.

Hilburn Academy PTA President Mike Cassetta, however, points to other headlines.

Tata recently announced new academic gains in the school district. He added new initiatives, including two single-gender leadership academies and he gave teachers a small raise in his recent budget – the first in several years.

Cassetta says the superintendent also helped to turn around issues at his child's school.

"We were upset and felt like we needed to get behind our superintendent and show our support," Cassetta said. "We are just trying to get the word out."

14 Comments

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  • diane10 Sep 24, 5:11 p.m.

    Tony Tata is not the problem. The new board however is back to it's old politics it was voted out for in the past. If you check the new plan they have flip flopped children AGAIN. They do this every year. They promised the new plan would provide stability and yet they choose to move our children after we just moved them with NO CHOICE this time. Their typical MO is to juggle numbers just moving kids around to hide problems. If a school is under performing let's just move some kids with better scores in and those with lower scores out. They just cover up the problem rather than deal with it. And they don't care that your elementary school child will have 3 different schools in 5 years. But they make sure their children are in magnet schools so they never have to move. And I believe one board member before the choice plan got some bad press at one time for moving her child because she didn't like the school her child was given. SHE got a choice that no one else was given. TYPICAL.

  • stoop24 Sep 24, 10:27 a.m.

    Changes made to a system this large takes time and everyone isn't going to approve of everything done. The fact that busing had its problems with the changes doesn't surprise me. There were a lot of changes so I believe it should have been expected and parents should have been prepared. The busing of kids all over Raleigh was ridiculous. They have less budget each department including transportation so unless we want to pay additional taxes then you can't expect the same amount of services. Mr. Tata seems to doing a great job of keeping teachers in the classroom where support is needed the most at the expensive of other positions. He's having to do more with less (and he's doing it) so a job well done in my book.

  • superman Sep 24, 8:13 a.m.

    Some people always have to throw politics into everything. The previous board put Mr. Burns, the previous supt on adm. leave. Mr. Tata was a poor choice from the beginning. Work and marriage is somewhat alike. You can do 1k things right but one girlfriend or one mistress can destroy a marriage. It is the things that we do wrong or mistakes that we make that determines our fate. However in defense of Tata and the bus guy they fired--I dont think the pope and a thousand praying priests would or could have handled the busing much better. It was doomed for disaster from the beginning. He didnt support the busing guy so I dont know why he would think the board is going to support him. I am sure he has done some positive things but he needs to be thrown under the bus.

  • dws Sep 21, 7:58 p.m.

    Leave it to the Democrats to drive the school system into the ground to gain their political retribution. Thank God my family is past this circus.

  • bnsakowski Sep 21, 7:55 p.m.

    whistler411, I agree completely!

  • kidsrn Sep 21, 7:52 p.m.

    If I was Tata I would be hoping that the Board would let me go so I could have some peace and quiet while still receiving my pay. I wonder if he had any idea of the headache he was stepping into? As for the busing---my understanding is that the budget had to be slimmed down and they chose to decrease the number of buses to accommodate that. Turns out a really bad choice, but perhaps one that could not have been forseen? I find it very doubtful that just Tata made that decision, but who knows?

  • offthegrid7165 Sep 21, 7:48 p.m.

    He is a leader...LEADER. carylowmans

    Apparently... too much of a leader. Too many wannabees in this town....

  • rand321 Sep 21, 7:44 p.m.

    god, can the schools quit fighting over GOP and Democrat and focus on the kids and schools? they also need to keep in mind the taxpayers who pay for everything?

    Both sides have turned the debate into a comical farce!

  • neverindoubt Sep 21, 7:37 p.m.

    Tata got rid of the man in charge of transportation. Don Haydon has retired effective immediately. What more does the Board want from Tata? he can't be expected to micro-manage every operation of the district. The person in charge of transportation is given a chance to do his job, he screws it up, his boss asks him to step aside.
    Tony Tata is the best thing to happen to WCPSS in a very, very long time. Who, exactly, do they think they're going to find who will do a better job than Tata? He is a leader...LEADER. VERY hard to find these days. Someone who tries to get the team to do their best. He's focused on getting proven results. Who can argue with that? You can't get the job done, move aside. He's getting the job done. And any competent leader out there who might want the job should they fire him will run in the opposite direction when the see how the Board has treated him, if they do, in fact, fire him for doing his job. Ridiculous!

  • LuvLivingInCary Sep 21, 7:36 p.m.

    oh well i read his golden parachute so democratic board members go right ahead and make his day.

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