Sparks fly at Wake School Board meeting

October 2, 2012 8:11:45 PM PDT
There were more heated words over the firing of Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata Tuesday evening. It happened at the first meeting where the board heard from the public since Tata's firing.

Tuesday's meeting contained more outrage and drama.

"I can't fire you. I can't recall you. I can't sue you. I don't have the money. None of us do now. I can only offer you one thing: my utter disgust," said Raleigh resident Connelly Simmons.

A stream of parents lashed members of the school board for firing Tata. Some put blame on the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, which is an advocacy group critical of Tata.

"Tata's firing had nothing to do with his performance and everything to do with your politics, and your fringe group friends over here," said Apex resident Allison Backhouse. "I would say shame on you. You're a bunch of liars, but you know what you are -- a bunch of cowards."

Great Schools in Wake said its members are passionate and well-informed, but aren't bullies.

"This is just not a force that is anything other than parents that look at data," said former school board member Beverley Clark.

It was hard to find positive words at this meeting, bust a few offered some charity.

"I know that every member of our school board and Superintendent Dr.Gainey have good intentions when important decisions are made," said Renee Herrick.

Now the saga continues as the board searches for a new superintendent.

There was also some public infighting within the board, with much of the attention focused on Chairman Kevin Hill.

Also at the meeting, school board members approved a temporary pay increase for substitute bus drivers. Their pay will go from $11.89 to $15 an hour. The increase is effective through Oct. 31.

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