So the Democrats on the Wake County School Board got their man. Earlier this week the five Democrats on the board voted to fire Tony Tata from his job as Superintendent of Schools for Wake County. The four Republicans on the Board – all of whom voted in favor of hiring Tata 20 months ago — opposed the measure. The cost for removing Tata before the end of his contract will cost taxpayers’ $253,000, Tata’s annual salary. Since NC statutes stipulate state funds can’t be used to buy out contracts, the money must come from WCPSS savings accounts.
Last fall Democrats campaigned on stability and moving forward with the student assignment plan…. Now almost a year later we know they had a few other things in mind. Hill and other Democrats on the board want diversity to be a bigger part in student assignment decisions. Not surprising. But haven’t we seen all this before? Do we really want to throw out two plus years of hard work crafting a student assignment plan and bring us back to the same place we were about three years ago?
Is this any way to run a school district? Someone tell me the changes and uncertainty are good for the children, parents and taxpayers of Wake County. Considering the constant tumult and anxiety of the last few years it’s time to ask the question: Is WCPSS simply too big to be governed effectively?
The truth is, breaking up WCPSS into smaller districts could remedy some of the district’s problems. What evidence exists that WCPSS as currently constructed can serve students better than a smaller more responsive district?
For the past decade we’ve been told kids do better in smaller schools. Is there an optimal size for school districts? Bigger is not always better for school districts (see here and here). Estimates suggest WCPSS will continue to grow into the future. Since no bureaucracy will ever downsize itself, it’s a question that parents, educators and taxpayers ought to consider asking.