Credit CPB

Student assignment is again on the agenda at five public hearings in Wake County.

Tony Tata
Wash. DC Schools

Tony Tata is spending more time in the Triangle today. The retired brigadier general is the new superintendent in Wake County.

Wake County has a new School Superintendent. Anthony Tata was confirmed Thursdaynight in a 4-to-2 vote by the Wake County School Board.

Tata is not your every day public school administrator. He’s a West Point graduate and former brigadier general who writes Tom-Clancy style thrillers. Most recently, he was Chief Operating Officer at the Washington DC schools, in charge of purchasing and operations. The year and a half he spent in that job is his only experience in education.

Anthony Tata
DC Schools

The Wake County School Board is apparently on the verge of hiring a new superintendent. Donna Haargens has served in the position as an interim since the spring.

Erskine Bowles is spending his last few days as president of the UNC system. Tom Ross takes over in January.

The Erskine Bowles Era was defined in his first few years by streamlining the 17-campus UNC system - and then, in the final years, because of the recession, fighting for dwindling resources.

Tom Ross takes over for Bowles at a time when those resources are likely to be at an all-time low. Ross was, most recently, the President of Davidson College. He says he hopes to have has much success courting state legislators as Bowles did:

NC State has received the largest gift in the University's history. Lonnie and Carol Johnson Poole have given $40 million, most of it to the College of Management.

Lonnie Poole is a graduate of NC State and founded Waste Industries USA in 1970. He led an investor group that took the company private for $550 million in 2008.

$37 million of Poole's $40million gift will go to the College of Management at NC State. That school will now be named for him. $2.5 million will go towards building a clubhouse at the university's golf course.

The Wake County School Board is one step closer to hiring a new superintendent. The new leader will be faced with several challenges involving the state’s largest school district.

A new superintendent will deal with a significant budget shortfall, a federal Title VI investigation, and a review by the agency that accredits the county’s high schools. On top of that, the school district’s top administrator will also inherit a deeply divided School Board.

That Board met last night behind closed doors. They interviewed candidates earlier this month at a hotel in Raleigh.

middle schoolers
Jane Van Middlesworth

At many middle schools, students have the option of enrolling in band classes to play music. But very few have their own marching bands. Northern Middle School in Greensboro is an exception to that rule. The band has made quite a name for itself in parades and concerts across the state. In fact it's so good that it has been invited to play at college football's Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida on New Year's Day.

Budget Cuts Could Cost Students

Dec 7, 2010

State education leaders are warning lawmakers that double-digit budget cuts will affect university and community college classrooms.

State lawmakers are looking for spending cuts to offset a $3.2 billion shortfall next year.  But higher education officials say a proposal to cut their budgets 10% would mean fewer seats, fewer classrooms, and higher tuition.  UNC Chief Operating Officer Jeff Davies says universities already sustained huge cuts in this year’s budget.  He says schools would have to raise tuition 6.5% just to keep their doors open:

Debra Goldman
Wake Schools

The Wake County School Board meets later today. One item on the agenda is a discussion on a revised student assignment plan for next year.

President Barack Obama will be in North Carolina today visiting students at Forsyth Technical Community College.

President Obama’s visit is the highlight of a year of celebrations at Forsyth Tech. The community college is 50-years-old.  For the first time in the school’s history – Forsyth Tech has more than 10-thousand students enrolled. Many of the students are laid off workers or those insecure about their current jobs.  Gary Green is president of Forsyth Tech. He says President Obama’s visit means a lot.

A new Republican majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners plans to undo some efforts passed by the old Democratic majority.

A lot is expected to happen later today when the Wake County Commissioners meet for the first time with new members. The Republican Majority will rescind a resolution that expresses “deep concern” over the re-segregation of the Wake County schools.

The county commissioners have financial oversight over the schools.

The anti-re-segregation resolution passed last April.

Warwick Arden
NC State

NC State has hired a provost. Chancellor Randy Woodson announced late this afternoon that Warwick Arden will assume the job as the University’s top academic officer.

Fifty students will be part of the first class of the East Carolina University School of Dentistry this fall. School officials aim to meet the state's demand for more dentists. North Carolina has the fourth lowest dentist-to-population ratio in the country. The school will open 10 clinics in rural areas across North Carolina. Three of those clinics will be in Sylva, Ahoskie and Elizabeth City. Associate Dean Francis Serio says 4th-year students will spend most of their time treating patients in those clinics.

Ben Jealous

The NAACP is holding a national education summit in Raleigh this week. The event will be highlighted by a keynote address from Ben Jealous, the president of the national NAACP.

Ben Jealous last spoke in Raleigh in September at the Christian Faith Baptist Church. Jealous announced then that the NAACP was filing a complaint with the federal government against the Wake County Schools.

Chapel Hill town officials are considering permanently moving the public library to University Mall. They voted to put on hold an expansion project at the library’s current site on North Estes Drive. This after the owner of the mall offered to sell the space currently housing Dillard’s department store. Officials estimate the move would save taxpayers close to 4 million dollars.  They say the new location would be more accessible.

Assistant director Mark Bayles has been with the library for 27 years. He speaks fondly of the current location:

A year ago today a new School Board was sworn-in in Wake County. The four new members represented a new majority, elected by an average margin of 68%. They promised to radically alter the way students were assigned to schools. But nobody expected what was to come over the next twelve months.