by Bob Geary
Update: 4:51: Tata's out, 5-4 vote. He receives a $253,625 severance.
Update, 4:24 p.m., Tuesday: The Wake County Board of Education is currently debating a motion to fire Superintendent Tony Tata.
Republican John Tedesco, who supports Tata and was among the board members who hired him, said, "This will cost $250,000 [to buy out Tata's contract], a waste of a quarter-million dollars when we're about to ask the public for money in the bond issue. This is an epic failure. I wouldn't trust this board with my lunch money."
Debra Goldman, a board member and Tata supporter: "We're losing our superintendent. He has led with a quiet strength and is being fired by a partisan school majority because they didn't pick him. It's that simple."
Today's meeting is a follow up to yesterday's Wake County Board of Education meeting, during which they convened behind closed doors for a little over three hours on a "personnel issue" widely understood to be the status of Superintendent Tony Tata. When the session ended, the board met briefly in open session to debate whether to add an agenda item to a previously scheduled meeting tomorrow — a move that required two-thirds approval, or six votes out of nine, because it lacked the statutory 48 hours notice.
With the four Republicans voting no, the motion to add the item failed on a 5-4 vote.
Before the meeting started, a small group of women and men led by Donna Williams and Heather Losurdo, both of whom ran for the school board last year and lost, demonstrated in front of the Wake school headquarters in support of Tata. The two, both Republicans, warned that Tata's job was in jeopardy, a forecast that later seemed to come true.