New Wake superintendent on the job

Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata tours Carnage Middle School (Shae Crisson)

January 31, 2011 3:59:17 PM PST
Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata began his first day on the job touring schools and meeting principals Monday.

"I'm ready to get to work. I was already at the office at about 6:45 this morning, and coming in here the first thing I want to do is talk to all my principals," Tata told ABC11 as he toured Enloe High School.

Tata arrives in a district and a school board deeply divided over the issue of diversity. The majority on the school board elected at the end of 2009 has voted to end the old diversity policy in favor of sending students to schools closer to their home.

Critics charge it will lead to resegregation, while supporters say the old diversity policy failed to help many underperforming students.

As if that wasn't enough, Tata also faces huge budget cuts as tax collection continues to suffer in the down economy.

Tata said Monday his first priority is protecting teachers and principals as much as he can as cuts are made.

"I've been very consistent in saying that the last things that I touch will be schools and principals and teachers because that's where we need to put our focus and our resources. But everything's got to be on the table when you're looking at 70 or 100 million dollars," he said.

Tata will be officially sworn in Tuesday afternoon.

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