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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Looking at a possible divided vote on a new superintendent

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One question today is how much support will Anthony Tata get from the school board in being selected as Wake County's new superintendent.

It's likely Tata will get the support of all the Republican board members. Board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman has broken ranks at times but she's also the head of the search committee that recommended Tata.

Will any of the Democratic board members, who had all opposed efforts to let non-educators hold the job, vote for Tata? And what message will it send if the vote is divided?

Let's start with the vote counting.

First off, board member Anne McLaurin says she won't be at the meeting today because of her medical duties as a doctor. In addition, she's quoted in this WTVD article that she was told last week that there would be no meeting this week. She's not happy about meeting before Christmas, calling it a case of poor governance.

McLaurin also complained to WTVD that board members have not been given any material to make an informed decision for any type of vote today. That kind of depends on what information you think is needed. Board members interviewed Tata earlier this month and offered him a contract.

But all the other board members are expected to be there today.

Board members Kevin Hill and Carolyn Morrison are the least likely to vote for Tata. Both retired principals were the most vocal about their opposition this summer about changing the qualifications for superintendent.

Board member Keith Sutton has been more willing than the other Dems to vote with the majority on issues. But he's likely to face pressure to vote against Tata.

This could mean a 4-3 vote today in public for Tata. (Board chairman Ron Margiotta wouldn't vote because McLaurin's absence means no tie will need to be broken.)

BTW, the board had voted 6-2 in 2006 to hire Del Burns as superintendent. At the time, Margiotta and then board member Horace Tart said their no votes were about the decision to not do a national search and not a reflection of their opinion of Burns.

In 2000, the board vote was unanimous in hiring Bill McNeal.

UPDATE

The board is back after a 31-minute closed session. Keith Sutton is also not here so seven members are present.

Sutton, in an e-mail message, said he wasn't here because of the lack of ample notice about the meeting. The same reason was given by Anne McLaurin, who has medical duties today, why she couldn't attend.

The meeting was scheduled on Tuesday.

Even though Hill and Morrison voted against Tata, they said they'll throw 100 percent support behind him now that he's superintendent.

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"Sutton, in an e-mail

"Sutton, in an e-mail message, said he wasn't here because of the lack of ample notice about the meeting."
 
However, subsequently Suttom admitted he threw a little temper tantrum and purposely boycotted the meeting because Tata held a political opinion that differed from Sutton's. Very mature, Mr. Sutton.
 
 

1) We do know the meeting

1) We do know the meeting was last minute so many people would have had plans already.

2) We do not know whether missing the meeting was a boycot.

...

"Sutton boycotted Thursday's meeting..."

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/12/25/881213/schools-chief-allowed-to-do-tv.html

 

"Democratic member Keith Sutton boycotted the meeting..."

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/12/24/880035/schools-hire-tata-in-split-vote.html

 

"...and Keith Sutton boycotted the meeting..."

http://wunc.org/programs/news/archive

 

So, user, it seems we DO

So, user, it seems we DO know.

There are those damn facts getting in the way of your story... again. LOL!

Hanging around JT

Sutton must be spending a little to much time with JT.  Lesson 1 - take your blocks and go home   Lesson 2 - name calling. 

Well, it seems Sutton and

Well, it seems Sutton and McLaurin want to stick their heads in the sand. Cowards.

 

I wonder who voted to make the offer after the interviews?

This just in . . .

Drew Carey to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  OK, you can quit laughing, but Mr. Carey is a. very successful and a leader in his field and b. has spent more time in the military than Mr. Tata has spent in education.  Maybe it's not really that funny.

Wake board member: Superintendent candidate is unprepared

http://www.wral.com/news/education/wake_county_schools/story/8821366/ 

I don't give a damn if the

I don't give a damn if the vote is not unanimous as long as we get the get Tata onboard. The reality is Morrison's, Hill's and McLaurin's days are numbered on the board. They will all be replaced next year by more folks who are much more aligned with public sentiment and Margiotta, Prickett, Tedesco and Malone. Then we will be able to really get to work to correct the sins of the past and move WCPSS into the 21st Century.

Should this man get hired I

Should this man get hired I can't wait to see what he says about the actions of Betty Cornell, william Crockett and maurice Boswell as well as several teachers who are still in the system.  This should be good.....I hope the General does not take the postion of ignoring as the WCPSS has done in the past!

What message?

It would send the message that the board minority is more interested in making their partisan political points than getting behind and supportting the guy who's going to be leading WCPSS for the next X years. 

Assuming he already has enough votes, the minority should be looking to make him as successful as possible and that starts with voting for him.

I Don't Get The Logic

How does pretending to paper over differences that we all know are there - and that were arguably delibarately exacerbated by the choice itself - do anything to make him more successful?  Did Margiotta's vote against the previous superintendent make a damn bit of difference in the grand scheme of things? No.  And voting honestly on this won't either.

different...

I'm not talking about papering over differences. Tthis isn't "go along to get along."

If the next superintendent is basically a fait d'accompli, then the minority members need to decide whether to get behind the guy or not. And, voting against him would be a statement that they're not behind him.

It's a little like the father who turns the prospective groom down when asked for his daughter's hand, knowing they'll get married anyway. He'd be making his point at the expense of future strained relations with his soon-to-be son-in-law.

well Morrison has "decided"

http://www.wral.com/asset/news/education/wake_county_schools/2010/12/23/8821432/tata.PDF 

different...

I'm not talking about papering over differences. Tthis isn't "go along to get along."

If the next superintendent is basically a fait d'accompli, then the minority members need to decide whether to get behind the guy or not. And, voting against him would be a statement that they're not behind him.

It's a little like the father who turns the prospective groom down when asked for his daughter's hand, knowing they'll get married anyway. He'd be making his point at the expense of future strained relations with his soon-to-be son-in-law.

Well Hopefully

they're NOT behind him.  And if they're not it's better for everyone if that is public and reflected in the vote.  I don't think there's any getting around "strained relations", the POINT behind his selection seems to be to fan the flames of divisiveness.

Ok...

So, they're not behind him.  They don't support the new district superintendent and, thus, presumably won't support his efforts to lead this school district.  Beautiful.  Those are exactly the people I want on the school board. 

The district has a lot of challenges ahead, especially this year.  Right now, the ONLY direction forward is under Tata's leadership, who will be here through the 2013-2014 school year.  Hill, Morrison, McLaurin and Sutton may not like that fact, but it is a fact nonetheless.  If they can't swallow their pride and work forward in that direction, then they should resign.

Funny how

Funny how Morrison/McLaurin/Hill/Sutton have become the "party of no" that Chuck has railed against the past two years.

Interesting

It would send the message that the board minority is more interested in making their partisan political points than getting behind and supportting the guy who's going to be leading WCPSS for the next X years.

I don't disagree with you.  However, the GOP has been doing for the last two years - here we have a president who has been elected by the widest margin in the three previous elections and the GOP has been nothing short of being obstructionists.  Now we have a former General who has no problem publicly speaking out against the commander in chief.  Where in all of this is the view - the president was elected fair and square, now let's get behind him and make sure he succeeds ?  Unfortunately the GOP and our own BOE have introduced a new level of partisan politics that is here to stay.   

 

That is what reasonable

That is what reasonable people would do. The members in the minority (well the minority on todays vote) will use the vote today to score political points.

Good Luck General Tata I hope they included combat pay in your offer!!

If the board indicated they

If the board indicated they were willing to offer him a contract at an earlier time, it would look bad (to both the general public and all of the applicant pool) if they changed their mind at this point.  General Tata certainly seems qualified in terms of leadership abilities and strength of character, etc.  His military background could be a huge asset to the school system, I'm sure he would be quite adept at dealing with the stakeholders and dynamics in Wake. 

I don't think it matters

I don't think it matters much how the vote turns out, seems like many people have already decided whether to love him or hate him.  In his previous assignments, General Tata has surely dealt with political backstabbing (like the leak we just saw) and critical media (like today's predictable N&O editorial), and I'm sure he knows what he's getting into.

Props go to Goldman on this one.  She led the search committee, pushed for consideration of a non-educator, and made this happen.  I wonder how much Bader & company are loving her now.

Props go to Goldman on this

Props go to Goldman on this one.

I need to star this post ....  the turn coat turns hero ... take that woodstock

?Goldman was the figure

?

Goldman was the figure head of the committee, I will admit. However, the process was obviously stalled until Margiotta, Tedesco and Prickett pushed her to press forward and do her job. It was clear Goldman had no clue how to manage the process, but she did eventually follow instructions well. So all is well that ends well. Hell, I don't even care if she tries to take credit. It will feed her very needy ego and keep her satisfied for a while... and we get what  is needed in a superintendent.

I understand Ron's

I understand Ron's disorganization and poor governance style not getting dates set and material out early.   I think the problems is Ron does not factor any time into the process for discussion since he really does not want any input.  Still, BGen Tata is probably as good as any "war zone" like Wake can get.   So, unless the missing documentation says he stole funds or is a pedophile, I hope they vote unanimously for him to get WCPSS out of a ditch and moving forward.  This board has wasted so much time on assignments, we need someone to start working on achievement.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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