Will a likely one-week delay in the vote to fire Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata give enough time for his supporters to save his job?
As noted in today's article, it's really unlikely that any of the Republicans will agree today to amend the agenda to give the two-thirds majority needed to vote on Tata. This means the next time the board could act would be next Tuesday, when the Democrats would only need a simple majority.
Harvey Schmitt, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, said he was disappointed about the discussions of Tata’s departure He said that he has expressed concern to boad chairman Kevin Hill and vice chairman Keith Sutton.
“We need the best and wisest decision-making process that we can generate,” Schmitt said. “And so, we've expressed our concern about this issue to the two chairs.”
In the next week, the group will likely continue to lobby the pair. Those who want Tata gone will likely be lobbying the Democrats to stand their ground.
A new assignment plan remains to be worked out, and a bond issue for next year is just entering the discussion phase. Schmitt said Monday it’s a bad time to replace the leader of the 150,000-student system and its $1 billion plus budget.
“Mr. Tata’s performance regarding closing achievement gaps and improving classroom performance seemed to have the district moving in the right direction, some of the innovation that we have seen has certainly been appreciated in the business community.”
“He helped (provide) stability at a point in time when we were very unstable. He did, I thought, a great job reaching out to the community.”
In terms of contacting Sutton, Wake County Republican Party chairwoman Susan Bryant said Saturday he was especially important to lobby on Tata's behalf. Bryant. had called Sutton "the leader of the moderates," saying that "he understands the enormous benefits of Tata’s policies and plans for minority children and families."
But on Monday, Sutton made the motion to add the personnel item to the agenda. He also joined the four Democrats in voting yes.
Whether any of the Democratic members change their minds and vote to keep Tata is uncertain. After all, the majority ignored Schmitt when he urged them not to stop the choice plan.
As Democratic school board member Susan Evans said at a June meeting, the chamber is a "valuable partner," but "we are the elected officials charged with making these important decisions on behalf of the school system."
Back to today's meeting, where none of the Republicans say they will support adding that "confidential personnel item" to the agenda. That means the Democrats would have to wait until next week to act.