by Bob Geary
Update, 4:24 p.m., Tuesday: The Wake County Board of Education is currently debating a motion to fire Superintendent Tony Tata.
The Wake County Board of Education met behind closed doors for a little over three hours this afternoon 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.
Members weren't talking about what the item was to be, except that Republican Chris Malone said he's "disgusted" by it. All were bound by a law barring disclosure of personnel matters decided in private sessions. But it was apparent that five members, all Democrats, were prepared to act on Tata's status tomorrow, and act on it in a way that the four Republicans who back Tata were very angry and upset about.
If no action is permitted tomorrow, Tata could be axed at next Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting.
Tata, who was present when the closed-door session began, was absent when the board reconvened in public session afterward. Board Chair Kevin Hill departed through a back door to avoid taking reporters' questions.
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.