Wake County Schools

Wake school board member calls for 'swift conclusion' over Tata's job

Posted September 25, 2012

— At least one Wake County Board of Education member is calling on the board to come to a "swift conclusion" on a personnel matter that many speculate has to do with whether to fire the school district's superintendent.

Prior to the school board meeting on the matter Tuesday afternoon, board member Chris Malone called what many are saying is a move by Democratic members of the board to oust Superintendent Tony Tata as a "tragedy."

If Tata is out, Malone, said, it must be done with "dignity" and "respect."

Democratic board members are not talking about the matter, but Malone and the three other Republic board members who voted to hire Tata in 2010 under a previous school board were visibly upset Monday afternoon and expressed outrage, saying they were "disgusted" by the topic of the meeting and that they feel it should be public.

Tedesco described the situation as an "epic failure in leadership at the board level."

He again on Tuesday asked that the meeting be held in the public eye.

"While I am certainly not in favor of this point in the action item, and will likely not change my mind, I think it is critical and imperative to our community to come out of closed session."

The board voted 5-4 along party lines to go into a closed session.

But members did vote to add the employment action item to the agenda, meaning a vote and decision could happen later Tuesday.

Supporters of Tata, including about three dozen parents and members of the Wake County Republican Party who rallied outside the school system's central office in Cary Monday morning, say Democratic board members elected last fall haven't given him a chance as superintendent and that politics are at play in the likely move to get rid of him.

Goldman said new Democratic board members are being "controlled" by Great Schools in Wake Coalition, a local group that is opposed to a new assignment plan that Tata implemented this year.

The group told WRAL News Monday that it was not going to comment on Tata or the matter before the board.

Wake school board members meet on 'personnel matter' Wake school board vote on Tata's dismissal

Emails also circulated Tuesday from community members, including former school board candidates, calling the board majority's move "thuggish" and reminding them that recently elected board members "campaigned that they would NOT get rid of Tata NOR would they get rid of the assignment plan."

"If you vote to fire Superintendent Tata, you will have permanently burned all bridges of cooperation with many Wake County families," according to the email sent to school board members and the media.

"If you choose to relinquish him of his duties, you will only bring more animocity [sic] and upheaval in our community. I implore you to move past your political ideology and understand that keeping Tata is the right thing to do, not for you, but for our KIDS and THEIR futures," the email continued.

Although Democratic board members won't comment, WRAL News has learned that there has been scrutiny among some over his job performance.

Most recently is a busing debacle in which parents complained that school buses were showing up late or not showing up at all when school started last month.

The outpouring of criticism prompted Tata to publicly apologize for the problems and add about three dozen buses to the schedule – after cutting dozens to save money.

Tata and at least two Democratic school board members have also made headlines over heated email exchanges over Great Schools In Wake's criticism of his busing plan and Tata accusing the board members of being active in the group – an allegation they denied.

The issue led to the board bringing in a mediator to help resolve the issues.

Questions abound about how removing Tata might affect the school system.

If it decides to fire him, the board will have to decide whether it has a cause to get rid of him or pay him to leave.

In addition to the three-year student assignment plan that Tata implemented – the board is looking to revise it for the upcoming school year – the school board also wants to campaign to sell bonds next year for new schools. Some in the political realm have already pledged to block those efforts if Tata is fired.

There's also issues dealing with accreditation, stemming from complaints about board leadership.

Last week, the Wake County Taxpayer's Association filed a complaint with the accreditation group AdvancED about what it calls "continuous mismanagement" and a "lack of governance" by the Democratic board majority.

247 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • ricardocobos Sep 26, 9:06 a.m.

    At a time when budgets statewide are among the worst they have ever been, Tata, fired without cause will receive a 1/4 million dollar severance package, but he will also be eligible to collect $502 per week in Unemployment Compensation as well. Well done Wake County School Board.

  • Jonsie Sep 25, 7:01 p.m.

    As a Wake County school teacher I have received a good-bye email from Mr. Tata. You judge, school board.
    · Positive academic gains in 19 of 20 measurable areas
    · The highest gains ever recorded for low income high school students
    · Reducing the number of schools below 70% proficiency from 26 to 13
    · Raising the accreditation of the entire school system while completing all action steps required by Advance Ed
    · Adding 15 new Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Global Language programs
    · Creating two new leadership academies and beginning the process of funding a long awaited career technical high school · Working hard to get more money for the school system … which for the most part turned into raises and bonuses for our teachers and staff · Producing two student assignment plans focused on increasing stability · Vastly improving services for our 20,000 special education students · And implementing the new common core curriculum in all 169 schools

  • Screw WrAl Sep 25, 6:59 p.m.

    Hey Superman, Add another 250K to the tab you're keeping up with. All those wasted tax dollars. There will be lots more coming soon, so put fresh batteries in your calc.

  • cozy4pilot Sep 25, 6:58 p.m.

    WOW - As an independent, I thought that the low level political jobs really didn't matter. Boy was I wrong!! They don't come any lower than school board, but look at the waste of tax dollars, not to mention getting rid of a competent superintendent. I hope that the Wake county votes take note of the geniuses that did this and toss them out in the next election. I really doubt that I vote for a single Democrat this year. This has really been an eye opener for me.

  • twoods77 Sep 25, 6:25 p.m.

    The Wake Co School Board is an embarrassment to the people of this area; to say this was non-partisan is ridiculous.

  • jgriffith3792 Sep 25, 6:12 p.m.

    Pathetic.

  • sbr1963 Sep 25, 6:05 p.m.

    You think this will change people's vote regarding the Bond? Like stated above, you will vote against regardless. That is what I read into your comment.

    me, I'll have to see exactly what is on the Bond before I'll make up my mind.--Da Toy Maker

    I have NEVER voted against any bond for schools in all of the years that I have been of age to do so, this was even before I had kids. I am now sick of all the garbage and I don't feel that I can trust them with any more of my money. What money I will give will go directly to the schools and classrooms of my children. These people run for office and make all kinds of promises and then turn around and change them within a year. These kids cannot take pride in their schools because they are not there long even to feel any attachment. Promise some stability and do what is best for the kids!

  • USAF20YR Ret Sep 25, 5:59 p.m.

    superman: I dont understand how democrates feel differently about eucation than replublicans.
    *********************
    Please allow me to give you an example. One was Democrats and Republicans differ is Republicans think students should be able to put together a cohesive sentence, and combine them to make a paragraph.
    You, superman, obviously went to school while the Democrats were running your school board.

  • ncsue48 Sep 25, 5:58 p.m.

    Classy speech by classy guy. Wake County you got it all wrong. No wonder the schools are a mess.

  • CarolinianByChoice Sep 25, 5:53 p.m.

    Tedesco was one of the biggest rebel rousers when the previous board ran in like bulls in a china shop upsetting everything around them with absolutely no regard for proper procedures or what havoc they would rein on students/parents.

    After leading WCPSS down the trail of being a national laughingstock Tedesco now wants you to elect him as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. And even though this might be a “figurehead” position make no mistake this man will use that office to advance himself somehow - and it won’t bode well for us!

    He has already shown how reckless he can be – don’t let him get elected to ANY public office, EVER again!

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