School Board Puts Superintendent Del Burns on Administrative Leave

School Board Puts Superintendent Del Burns on Administrative Leave

March, 09, 2010, by Jedidiah

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photo News & Observer

Now that the Wake County School Board has decided a new course for our children’s education for the unforeseen future, it was back to the business of politics. Particularly, what happened in that closed door session concerning Del Burns, the School System’s Superintendent who resign over the busing for diversity issue that has divided almost every single resident (parent or not) of Wake County over the past week.

Next on the School Board’s agenda? What to do with Del Burns. The result? Place him on administrative leave. Chief Academic Officer Donna Hargens will be interim superintendent until a new person is appointed in the spot.

MyNC, the N&O and WRAL have more of the details on Burns’ dismissal, part of which is very compelling.

Burns, who has spent more than 30 years in the school system, said ending the system’s diversity policy would segregate rich schools and poor schools.

Dallas Woodhouse, director of Americans for Prosperity in North Carolina, has called on a nationwide search for a new superintendent that focuses on candidates in favor of the new board’s agenda.

“North Carolina’s laws leave little doubt that the superintendent, appropriately called an administrator, works for the elected school board. It says a lot that Mr. Burns cares more about socioeconomic diversity than diversity of opinion,” Woodhouse said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Some board members had also expressed concern about their ability to work with Burns for the next few months.

It’s a sad day when caring about socioeconomic diversity is a bad thing.

While I’m not calling any names or spitting any venom, simply laying out facts, Americans for Prosperity, in which Woodhouse is the director of the NC chapter, seems a bit venomous themselves, especially with this quite harsh statement on the “school board’s decision to remove Burns.” While I’m no genius, I’m quite sure that Burns resigned before he was “removed” from his powerful throne by the voice of the people like they seem to want their donors to believe. Letting him finish out the school year or coming to an amicable compromise seems a bit more human, but maybe I’m reading it all wrong and don’t play the politics game enough.

As a random aside to this, Americans for Prosperity thinks taxing sodas is a conspiracy by the Obama administration to “micromanage our lives in the name of public health”. Wow, I’m kinda speechless, as is this study which was released this week.

As was stated, Wake County is a fabulous place for education and to ruin this with this kind of politics is a shame. We can disagree on where our children are bused to schools, but when there are folks with larger personal agendas making our decisions, the outcome can be catastrophic. Digging deeper into all of this could also spell trouble I’m sure.

I see this continuing to spiral out of control on a local, as well as national, level and could have ramifications on the socioeconomic status of our County as a whole in the next few years. And as a father of an eight month old son, homeschooling has never sounded so compelling. 

Americans for Prosperity Statement on Del Burns

“Over the past few weeks Mr. Del Burns has disqualified himself from continued service to the Wake County School Board.

Since Mr. Burns would not recognize the authority of the school board as directed via the people at the ballot box, what other choice did the board have than to remove him?

North Carolina’s laws leave little doubt that the superintendent, appropriately called an administrator, works for the elected school board. It says a lot that Mr. Burns cares more about socioeconomic diversity than diversity of opinion.

Mr. Burns’ behavior has helped create division in our community rather than help heal it. While tonight’s decision was difficult, the elected school board was left no other choice.”

Dallas Woodhouse
North Carolina State Director
Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina

919-839-1011 ext 3
919-671-1050 Cell

200 West Morgan Street
Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27601

Read More

Politics, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Wake County School Board


  • JeffS
    03/10 03:35 AM

    Please don’t do Mr. Woodhouse the favor of even mentioning his name. Why a person whose agenda is to dismantle the public school system should be afforded a venue, opinion, or any consideration at all is beyond me.

    Furthermore, board members following this agenda should be removed from office. I’ve said it before. They do not want to “fix” the system. They want to dismantle it.

    All of the “little people” who think these organizations are working for you are just leading the sheep to slaughter. This is big business taking over the country - and getting you to do the dirty work for them.


    As for Del… well, I can’t say I blame them. When we vote these fools off the board I hope their replacements will do the same thing to whatever puppet(s) they’ve put in place.

  • joe
    03/10 09:00 AM

    There is a reason Woodhouse no longer works for WRAL. what a dumbass.

    Margiotta looks dumber and dumber by the day.

    1) He has no educational credentials
    2) He has no experience working in education whatsoever
    3) He’s a compete dumbass for making the comment he did (even if he ‘didn’t mean it’)

    4) He’s a New Jersey yankee, a dumb one at that.  nuff said.

  • Matt
    03/10 09:16 AM

    Whether one agrees or not with the board’s new philosophy, the fact of the matter is Burns was a hired to be an administrative professional who serves at the pleasure of the board. He clearly had no intention of doing that with the new board. In the end, the new board actually had every right to terminate him. It’s not that dissimilar to if a city manager came out in opposition to a city council. That’s not his job.

  • RaleighRob
    03/10 09:22 AM

    In other words—“If you don’t bow down to our radical right agenda and smilingly agree to continue on our course of driving this bus right off a cliff, then we’re gonna fire you.”

  • joe
    03/10 09:33 AM

    Well said RaleighBob.

    You know Hitler and the Board have a lot of similarities.

  • rl
    03/10 09:43 AM

    This guy stood up for something wrong and now they wanna get rid of him asap. He already told them he was leaving but at this point i think he should just leave. Its obvious that these racist folk are not doing the right thing and there are many higher uppers who agree but the board dont see it that way. They are selfish racist people who are only concerned for wake county now and not for the future. If i were him i would leave now to clear my name so that when these dumb asses mess up things he wont have any part in it. Its really a shamed.

  • T-Plain
    03/10 10:56 AM

    So when the current board is swept out of office at the next election, can/will this all be undone?

  • arthurb3
    03/10 12:14 PM

    Well, the yankees who voted this current board in can do the same next time!

  • Ernie
    03/10 01:11 PM

    New Jersey trash has found its way here.  Thanks you Northern RACISTS!

  • RG
    03/10 01:38 PM

    Check this one out, from WRAL:
    Parents groups, like Wake Cares, were much more pointed in their responses.
    “Since the vision and philosophies are so different between Dr. Burns and the new school board, everyone’s best interest is served by his resignation,” Wake Cares spokeswoman Dawn Graff said in a statement.
    Dallas Woodhouse, director of Americans for Prosperity in North Carolina, called on a nationwide search for a new superintendent that focuses on candidates in favor of the new board’s agenda.
    “It is time for a new era in leadership in Wake County, one that matches the voters’ desire for neighborhood schools and breaks from the discredited social engineering policies of the past,” Woodhouse said.

  • RG
    03/10 01:41 PM

    Now check out big bad blowhard Dallas on the AFP blog:  Americans for Prosperity is on record as supporting the parents of WakeCares, through SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS as well as other support. WakeCares is a great example of the kind of grassroots effort to fight the abuses of government that Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina is dedicated to supporting.

  • Harry
    03/10 07:02 PM

    One of the worst things about the right wing segregationist loonies on the board is that their opponents are now embracing the myth that Wake County Schools were doing just fine under the diversity policy.  If you have spent any time in a Wake County school in the last decade then you will know this is bullshit.  And it had nothing to do with racial or class demographics.  It had everything to do with bad, under qualified teachers, shitty long term planning, outdated curriculum, enormous class sizes and disinterested parents.

    As far as I’m concerned, the argument is between segregated bad schools and integrated bad schools.

  • K
    03/10 07:36 PM

    I HAVE spent the last decade working in the WCPSS and all I can say is that what YOU are saying is bullsh*t (minus the large, not enormous, class sizes and disinterested parents). I work with teachers who are dedicated to their jobs and the children in their classes (are there exceptions to this, sure, but aren’t there in every office or corporation?), Wake county is ahead of the curve with RTI and IA, new curriculum is adopted on a regular basis (you would know this if you ever asked). We have new students enter our school from other NC counties and states on a regular basis and the comments on their report cards are simple at best, we use data and profile cards to pin point exactly where students are on or below grade level, we use data for progress monitoring, we document almost everything…DO NOT even act like you know what you are talking about Harry….

  • gd
    03/11 08:50 AM

    Maybe if NC actually paid their teachers a salary they could live on, we’d have better teachers.
    Do like theyy do in NY - make teachers receive a masters before teaching and pay them accordingly if quality is an issue.
    I wouldn’t ever work as a teacher in this state because of the pay alone.

  • RaleighRob
    03/12 01:14 PM

    ^You can pretty much make the same argument for ALL public employees in this state.  (Except high-ranking managers.) 

    People in NC are very quick to complain if they don’t get every single thing they want out of government, at 100% efficiency.  Yet when it comes to paying the employees who do that work a decent wage, NC is a total joke. 
    You don’t get Nordstrom-quality service at Big Lots, folks.  Government is the same way.

  • JZ
    03/13 11:36 AM

    __New Jersey struggles with the same socio-economic segregation that now will challenge this County.  The difference is that NJ organizes its school district by municipality, giving even the smallest town control over its schools.  The drawback of this approach is that there is a chicken/egg type of situation where lower land values beget a smaller tax base which begets less funding for the public school in that municipality which begets the migration of the wealth to better districts in order to care for their children. The debate over how to redistribute resources is an ongoing debate in a state that generally leans BLUE before it leans RED.

    __Putting that issue aside, wasn’t redistribution of the children in Wake County to overcome a socio-economic AND racist divide?  Have those problems ceased? Of course not.  But I do think we have been successful in raising a few generations who do not ‘see color’.  So perhaps its time to examine the implications of shuffling kids to districts beyond their consciousness and how that effects their sense of place and commitment to their community.  I’m more interested in understanding how we can offer equality and diversity in education AND give our kids a chance to walk to their school rather than be shuttled for an hour in the morning just to get to their destination. I enjoyed being able to essentially walk to school my entire upbringing which definitely contributed to a sense of pride and responsibility.

    __As a New Jerseyite transplant living in the South since 1990 when I migrated for higher-education, I find the few comments about carpet bagging yankees a bit simplistic and perpetuating a stereotype that I thankfully was not exposed to at the time of my emigration. Given the fact that NJ is the densest (and one of the wealthiest states) in the Union, I find the accusation of RACISM laughable.  Diversity in NC doesn’t begin to approach the diversity AND TOLERANCE in NJ. 

    __Regardless, 20 years later, in the capital city of the progressive state of North Carolina, I find this kind of commentary reductionist regardless of the character of the individual in question.  I’ve not been this disappointed in a long time.  Thanks natives…for in the 13 years I’ve lived in Raleigh, I’ve never felt so unwelcome.

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