Wake County School Board

Wake School Bus
Dave DeWitt

Tonight, the Wake County School Board will continue its discussions on hiring a superintendent.

It’s been more than two weeks since the three finalists for Wake Superintendent visited the district for a hectic few days of interviews and public appearances. Wake School Board Chair Keith Sutton initially indicated a new superintendent would be hired within a few days, but delays have pushed it back to tonight, at the earliest.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Being on a school board is a little like being the head chef at the local Applebee’s. You don’t get to choose the ingredients and it’s not your recipe, but if someone doesn’t like the Bourbon Street Steak, you’re going to hear about it.

In other words, school boards in North Carolina have relatively little power but plenty of responsibility. And it’s been that way for a long time.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

State lawmakers in the Senate have approved a bill that would change how leaders of the Wake County school board are elected.

Senate Bill 325 would scrap the current boundaries for board seats. It would also move board elections from odd to even-numbered years, when voters choose their representatives in Congress and the General Assembly.

School bus
Dave DeWitt

The search for a superintendent for the Wake County Schools enters an important phase today, as public meetings begin.

The meetings serve as an opportunity for anyone and everyone to express what qualities they’d like to see in the next superintendent. The meetings will last three days and include stops in Cary and Raleigh.

The Wake County school board has a new chairman and another new student assignment plan; Chapel Hill is embroiled in its own fight over reassignment; and the legislature and the State school board are tussling over virtual charter schools. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Education Reporter Dave DeWitt about these and other education topics.

On November 6th, North Carolina voters will elect a new governor. They'll also make selections for Council of State offices. Isaac-Davy Aronson has this look at the two candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Democratic leaders on the Wake County School Board say Tony Tata's leadership style led to his firing as superintendent. 

Gurnal Scott: Members of the Democratic majority gave some reasons for their vote in a news conference yesterday. But they declined to give specifics. Board chairman Kevin Hill pointed to what he says were operational failures.

Kevin Hill: We've had a disastrous start to the school year in implementation of our assignment plan beginning with the first week in July. We've had a mess with transportation.

Tony Tata
Wake County Schools

The Wake County School Board is looking for a new superintendent. The board's Democratic majority fired Tony Tata yesterday after less than two years on the job. They said little about their reasons. But Republicans blame partisan politics.


Gurnal Scott: A precariously-placed hammer over the head of Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata..finally dropped.

Kevin Hill: At this time I look for a motion from the board to approve the separation agreement between the board and Mr. Tata.

Tony Tata
Wake County Schools

Wake County Schools superintendent Tony Tata may learn today if he still has a job.

Board members spent more than three hours yesterday in closed session. They made no decision. But Republican members who support Tata -- like John Tedesco -- left the meeting upset about where they were.

John Tedesco: In a closed session personnel item when I should be working on something like student achievement.

School bus
Dave DeWitt

Five members of the Wake County School Board were sworn in last night. The board majority is now in the hands of Democrats, after two years of Republican control.

A new elementary school in Southeast Raleigh is going through some growing pains.
Dave DeWitt

A high-profile elementary school in southeast Raleigh is going through some growing pains.

A few days before school began in August, Principal Corey Moore welcomed a horde of new families to Walnut Creek Elementary School.

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Wake County School officials are holding information sessions for parents starting today. The five events are designed to help families navigate a school choice plan that will take effect next year.

The five information sessions will take place in churches, preschools, and town halls in an attempt to reach out to populations that may not be easily reached otherwise. One of the sessions will be held in Spanish.

wake bus
Dave DeWitt

Democrats have regained control of the majority on the Wake County School Board. Incumbent Kevin Hill defeated Republican Heather Losurdo in a runoff election last night.

Looking worn out and even slightly embarrassed, Kevin Hill greeted supporters last night after the final votes were in.

In the most expensive Wake School Board race in history, Hill defeated Losurdo by just four percentage points. He is the fifth Democrat to win this election season – a strong rebuke of the Republicans who held the majority the last 2 years.

The final seat on the Wake County School Board is up for grabs today. Voters in Wake County’s District 3 will decide between Republican Heather Losurdo and Democrat Kevin Hill.

The runoff campaign has been intense, personal, and expensive. Counting all five school board races and the District 3 runoff, school board candidates have spent around $500,000. Outside interest groups have spent tens of thousands more. Losurdo says these messages are distracting to voters in District 3.

The Wake County School Board has voted to adopt a new student assignment policy.

The new student assignment policy replaces one that re-assigned thousands of students. It moved some them based on family income, so that no school included too high a percentage of low-income students.

The new policy has no such control. It's a choice plan with four stated pillars - stability, choice, proximity, and student achievement. Opponents of the plan wanted stronger assurances that high-poverty, low-achieving schools would not be created.

The Wake County School Board is close to voting on a new student assignment plan. Last night, the Board conducted its only public hearing on the plan. It was a chance for parents and interested residents to address the Board directly as it considers how to assign more than 140,000 students to schools.

The plan is front and center in the ongoing political fight for control of the Board.

When his good friend and mentor Ron Margiotta lost his re-election bid on Tuesday, Republican John Tedesco offered this warning…

Ron Margiotta
WCPSS

It was a near clean sweep for Democrats in yesterday’s Wake County School Board Election. Four of the five seats up for grabs were won outright by democrats. The fifth is not yet decided and will go to a run off, as no candidate captured 50 percent of the vote.

It was a stunning victory for supporters of the district’s old diversity policy… and a rebuke of the Republican majority that has been in charge for the last two years.

Some voters in Wake County did not receive voter cards this year showing new boundaries for local school districts. Residents head to the polls tomorrow to vote for five seats on the county school board among other offices. Wake Board of Elections director Cherie Poucher says county commissioners denied the funds needed to send voter cards with the new districts. Despite that, Poucher says she expects a higher turnout than normal.

The Wake County School Board campaign season is entering its final few days. It’s also a crucial time for the district’s long-awaited student assignment plan.

Wake Schools superintendent Tony Tata has worked for about 7 months on the specifics of the plan. He presented it to the school board earlier this week. A public hearing is scheduled for next Thursday.

The new student assignment policy in Wake County Schools is now in the hands of the School Board. Superintendent Tony Tata and staff members walked board members through the plan at a meeting yesterday.

If you’re the parent of an elementary school student, the new assignment plan will give you 5 options – and promise you that your child won’t be reassigned against your will. Among those choices will be a high achievement option, a magnet option, and others. How many parents get their first or second options remains to be seen.

It’s campaign season in cities and counties across the state. And nowhere are the races more interesting or hotly contested than in Wake County.

The races for Wake County School Board are heating up. Five seats are up for grabs in this fall’s election.

  A small group of citizens came to the Wake County School Board’s public hearing last night. They were there to voice concerns over the proposed redistricting process. 

It was a much different scene than in previous public hearings, when hundreds of angry demonstrators descended on the board meetings. Those protests were against the change in the student assignment policy. And while there’s been some disagreement over the process of re-drawing the precinct lines for board elections, it has been drawn nothing close to the level of anger. 

A North Carolina Appeals Court today heard a case against the Wake County School system. Plaintiffs say the Wake School Board broke laws regarding open public meetings.

The Wake School Board meeting on March 23rd was contentious and crowded. So crowded, in fact, that several news outlets offered to pay for the meeting to be moved to the Performing Arts Center downtown.

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