Board to vote publicly on Wake school chief's ousting

Posted March 19, 2010 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2010 7:29 p.m. EDT

— 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.