Tony Tata’s 20-month long leadership over the Wake County schools systems ended due to his controversial firing, on Sept. 25. As superintendent, Tata’s job was to preside over the school board as an adviser of education.
Tata was forced out by a five to four vote, in part from his strained relationship with Democratic leaders over the reassignment plan. Parents, board representatives and especially students are expressing frustration with the system’s change and Tata’s sudden firing.
Dr. Stephen Gainey, former Leesville principal and assistant superintendent, will act as Tata’s temporary replacement. Kevin Hill, Wake County school board Chairman told the News and Observer that he hopes a permanent superintendent will take over July 1.
Wake County’s choice-based plan impacts students’ school bus transportation. In the plan, bus routes have changed because students have the option to choose their base school. Redistricting is blamed for late or no bus arrival for thousands of students across the county.
Choice in a student’s base school is an unsolved issue in Wake County. The problem is, what do parents consider more important in the way their child’s education? Kids are offered the convenience with the neighborhood school plan to go to a school closer to their home. But the diversity plan offers a unique learning environment, with a variety of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
Disagreement arises in the way the diversity plan’s busing can complicate getting to school for students who live further away from their base school. While Tata was superintendent, the school board replaced diversity with the neighborhood school districting and busing policy. Wake County is likely to revert back to the diversity plan because the Democrat majority that voted Tata out favors the diversity policy.
Republicans consider Tata’s firing an unnecessary political power play. Kevin Hill, as well as other Democrats on the board, consider a new superintendent necessary to create less friction among the board members.
Reactions to his firing, whether excited or disappointed, reflect the public’s anticipation for upcoming changes for the schools system.