Tata responds to I-Team report on bus accidents

Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata

May 13, 2011 10:30:25 AM PDT
Wake County School Superintendent Tony Tata is responding to an I-Team investigation about Wake County school bus accidents.During his weekly press conference Friday, Tata responded to ABC11's investigative story that uncovered a dozen school bus drivers working for the school system who have committed crimes, despite an alert system that was put in place last summer that was supposed to catch such drivers.

Tata says he first began pulling files on bus drivers several weeks ago.

"We do criminal background checks on all our employees, so we are going back over those to check for discrepancies between what ya'll reported and what we've got, so we're still working through that," he said.

Meanwhile, looming budget cuts for Wake schools continues to be a concern.

"I'm continuing to meet with legislators to share with them about the severe impact of state budget cuts to K-12 education in Wake County," Tata said.

Tata has been making the rounds personally talking to state legislators, including the speaker of the House.

"The dance that's going on right now, the House is saying if we can get the Senate back from 10 percent to 8.8 percent, then we will be in good shape," he said. "But that's not my negotiation position, mine is that we started at 5 percent, that's what the governor said."

While Wake schools wait for the legislature to finalize the budget, they are moving ahead with narrowing down choices for a student reassignment plan.

By May 23, Tata says the plans will be narrowed down to two options and they will have a website up and running explaining them and allowing for the community's feedback.

That website will include all nine of the original websites that were originally considered and explain why seven of those were rejected.

It will also allow parents to type in their address and see what options their children would have for schools under the two remaining plans.

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