The Democratic majority on the Wake County school board voted down, along party lines, a motion to discuss Superintendent Tony Tata's job performance in open session.
Thomas Goldsmith, who is out at the meeting, is reporting that Republican board member Deborah Prickett made the motion to make public the ongoing discussions on Tata. It was voted down 5-4, paving the way to go into closed session.
"I completely oppose a closed session," Prickett said.
Meanwhile, chanting protesters have gathered outside the Wake County schools headquarters Monday, urging school board members to retain Tata, whose job performance has been under review by the board.
Minutes later, the nine-member school board trooped into a meeting room to meet briefly, then adjourn to closed session.
"The message is that Tony Tata is a good man who is doing good work on behalf of the schools system," said GOP board member Chris Malone, who talked briefly to about 30 protesters as he entered the building.
Members of the group said they nonpartisan supporters of Tata who appreciated his service to the schools since being hired in December 2010.
"Tony Tata is a super superintendent," said Pete Ashworth, 79, of Garner, who said Tata has twice visited his veterans' group in Fuquay-Varina.
The meeting was originally scheduled to end at 3 p.m. but it's gone well past that time. A cardboard box labeled "Fritos" was taken inside the board conference room, presmably for them to munch on.