WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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Carolyn Morrison to be school board chairwoman for a day

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Say hello to acting Wake County school board chairwoman Carolyn Morrison.

Morrison will chair this afternoon's school board meeting in which student and employees recognitions will be held. No other business items are expected to be discussed.

Morrison got the job today because school board chairman Ron Margiotta is out of town and vice chairman John Tedesco is among a group attending the N.C. School Boards Association's annual conference in Greensboro.

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????????

Didn't think Tedesco and the majority members of the board thought the NC Schools Board Association was a worthy organization - Didn't they withdraw Wake County Schools membership? Why in the world is he there?  Changing their schedules to honor Wake County Schools students and employees must not be that important to Ron & John - Guess Ron just doesn't care since he is on the way out and John is busy trying to be seen and spread rumors about the newly elected members.   

Uh....

They didn't think it was worth the $18K annual membership dues.  That's not the same thing as believing it's worthless.

UH Back To You

Not worth the annual membership dues but yet we find the need to attend their conference?  If so, why spend all those thousands of dollars for a firm to do our superintendent search when they offered the same service at a much smaller fee - Also their ability to train, provide legal resources, networking opportunities with other districts, legislative liaison to represent our interest in the State Legislature and many other resources for our system is not worth the membership fees?  I guess saving that $18K gave us more funds to add to the expense of hiring additional legal council to protect Margiotta and crew against civil rights issues.  In other words you don't think the board thought it was worth the membership fees to receive the services they have to offer? 

?

It's not at all clear that what the NCSBA offered was the "same service."  That's like saying Taco Bell and the Angus Barn are the same because they both offer food.

Incidentally, the legal fees for Barber's civil rights complaint are covered by the district's insurance policy.  

In other words you don't think the board thought it was worth the membership fees to receive the services they have to offer? 

Yes, that's correct.  If they did think it was worth the membership fees (relative to other expenses), then they would have maintained the membership.  Now, since then, Tata has convinced them otherwise, and they have reapplied. 

Convinced??????

WOW - Having to be convinced to rejoin - Guess the $ for membership fees is worthwhile to them now - It's ashamed they couldn't figure this out for themselves without having to be convinced.  How pathetic and lost this majority has been. 

Oh good grief...

So, here's the question:

The board was out of the NCSBA for one year, saving $18,000.  In what ways did this decision hurt the school district?  Can you come up with $18,000 of foregone benefit?  How, exactly, was the district hurt by this decision?

And, no, the Superintendent search doesn't count -- they made it abundantly clear that they wouldn't use the NCSBA for that even if they were members.  And, that's one place where I think they were right -- it's quite likely that the NCSBA would not have discovered Tata.

How very legal of you

You ask someone not in WCPSS to produce an itemized list of foregone benefit from NCSBA totalling $18,000 when you didn't even ask the BoE, at the time they were making the decision, to consider the negatives of their decision.  And then continue on to ask a blog poster how the district was hurt by not being in NCSBA (which the BoE didn't even ask).  

But, the best person to answer your question is likely Supt. Tata,  To quote:

http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/wake-looking-at-rejoining-nc-school-boards-association

Tata cited how it would give Wake a person to lobby the General Assembly. Wake had a full-time lobbyist but lost the person after reducing it to a half-time position last year to save money. It's remained unfilled.

So we lost lobbying power at a time when the GA was cutting spending left and right on education.

Tata said NCSBA membership would help with training of school board members and central services personnel.

So we had at least one year where apparently some of the BoE members could have gained additional knowledge that they had to go without.

Tata also said it would help with their ongoing review of board policies because they'd regain access to the NCSBA policy templates.

And more time had to be spent in drafting policies by staff as apparently the NCSBA policy templates could have been used to allow focus on select sections.  And there were a LOT of policies drafted by this BoE.

Ok...

So, you complain that I'm asking for something that's impossible to give, then you give it?

(1) Lobbying: You've made a good case for saying that they didn't need the benefit the previous year.  Unless you believe that the NCSBA's lobbyist was not already lobbying against the funding cuts, Wake's membership in the NCSBA wasn't going to add any additional lobbying muscle.

(2) Training: Yes, but they had access to School of Government training, among others.  Haven't heard any of the directors, majority or minority, complain about what was available.

(3) Policies: the district still had access to the previous year's policies, which the NCSBA only updates "to reflect changes in legal requirements or educational trends."  I haven't seen anyplace where these were necessary.  As to "a LOT of policies drafted by this BoE," please give me some examples -- policies are regularly reviewed, but the only policy that stands out was the assignment policy (which happened before NCSBA was dropped) and the proposed algebra placement policy (after it was picked back up.) Since the NCSBA policies aren't going to apply to every nuance of every school district, I don't see how that's a big deal.

It doesn't sound to me like WCPSS suffered significantly from its one-year lack of membership to the NCSBA.

Ah

I didn't make those points, Supt. Tata did so your disagreement is with him, not just a random member of the public.  So you suggest Supt. Tata made a fallacious argument and doesn't know what he's talking about?   Or are you trying to say the consequences would have compounded if WCPSS had gone more than 1 year without membership? 

The second, more/less

I think the longer it went, the more problematic it would have been.  Just like how I can sometimes skip mowing my lawn one week without serious problems, but if it goes 4 weeks, there's a serious issue.  The board went for a year without it, no serious problems.  Another year might have been OK.  But, eventually, they'd need to get back in.

Tata was looking forward -- he was saying "These benefits would be valuable in the coming year"; he did not say "you really needed these benefits over the past year."  The two statements are not the same.  

Asummption or fact?

Is that your assumption based on your interpretation of his quotes or have you spoken directly with him on the subject?

Um...

Based on the interpretation of his quotes and knowledge of the situation.  Even if he thought that it was a mistake the previous year, he wouldn't say so.  No point in it.

So...

Republicans can vote against something and still be for it?!  No, they are not usually that nuanced in their messaging. 

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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