Wake County Schools

Wake schools meeting could be about superintendent search

Posted December 21, 2010 5:13 p.m. EST
Updated December 22, 2010 7:39 p.m. EST

— The Wake County Board of Education has called for a closed meeting Thursday afternoon that, WRAL News has learned, could be related to the search for a new school system superintendent.

A public meeting notice issued Tuesday afternoon lists the sole agenda item for the 4:30 p.m. meeting as a “recommendation for administrative appointment.”

The board has been searching for a replacement for former Superintendent Del Burns, who resigned in June, and has hired national consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles to help name a successor.

Donna Hargens, the system’s chief academic officer, is filling the role on an interim basis. It’s unclear whether she has applied for the position.

It’s also unclear exactly what will happen at Thursday’s meeting or whether the board has decided on a new superintendent.

Burns’ successor will be the eighth superintendent of the Wake County Public School System and will come at a time when North Carolina’s largest school district is facing high student enrollment, millions of dollars in funding cuts and challenges to a controversial student assignment proposal.

The school system says it is expecting a $70 million to $100 million budget shortfall due to a lack of county, state and federal funding. At the same time, officials expect an additional 4,100 students either enrolled in public schools or attending local charter schools.

Concerns about a neighborhood schools assignment policy have prompted federal officials to investigate whether students’ civil rights would be violated when the district moves away from its long-standing policy of busing students for socio-economic diversity.