If Wake County Schools Superintendent Del Burns is ousted early tonight, it won't be because his supporters stayed silent.
As noted in today's article, there's been an active lobbying effort over the past few days by people who want the school board to allow Burns to stay on through his June 30 resignation date. Del's Army, a Facebook group organized by the son of former school board candidate Carlene Lucas, has become a central point for Burns' backers.
"Other parents like myself need to stand up and speak out," Lucas said. "We hope they listen to us and not the elite few."
A similar view was echoed by Yevonne Brannon, a founder of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, whose coalition includes several liberal groups. A number of critics of the new board majority feel they're beholden to special-interest groups.
Brannon noted how members of the new board majority can be seen talking at board meetings with Wake County Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope Jr. and Wake County Taxpayers Association President Russell Capps.
"I hope they they won't listen to the voices of outsiders but listen to the clear voices of the community," Brannon said.
Brannon said the large response in favor of Burns shows the board majority that people don't want an interim superintendent so soon.
“This is the opportunity to do what’s best for the community,” Brannon said. “This is the community saying they want the school board to keep him on and have a smooth transition.”
Brannon argued that the community "is very distraught and confused right now about what's going on." She said the best way to calm things down is to allow Burns to remain as superintendent through June 30.
"Let's not make the next four months as stressful for teachers and students as the last four months have been," Brannon said.
School board member John Tedesco denied the concerns made on the Great Schools in Wake Coalition's web site that the new board majority is "responding" to "politically conservative groups" who are calling for Burns' dismissal.
“At the end of the day, we’re going to look at what’s in the best interests of education in Wake County,” Tedesco said. “There’s no political interest group that’s going to sway the decision,”
Tedesco took more shots at Burns, noting the district's declining graduation rate, rising achievement gap and rising number of high-poverty schools. He said that a CEO would be held at least partially responsible if the company's metrics were getting worse.