Education

Blog: Wake school board sees year-round survey results

Posted February 2, 2010

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— Wake County Board of Education members on Tuesday get to see preliminary results from a parent survey gauging attitudes on year-round schools. The school system received about 41,000 responses to the survey.

Last month, the board voted on a resolution to end mandatory assignment to year-round schools beginning with the 2010-2011 school year and to allow parents to choose whether their child attends a school with a year-round or traditional calendar.

Two years ago, the district converted 22 elementary and middle schools to mandatory year-round schedules (the board overturned that policy at a meeting in December.)

At the time, administrators defended the controversial moves by saying it would help the district keep up with enrollment growth and save money on school construction since year-round schools can accommodate more students than traditional-calendar schools.

The following are updates from the Wake County Board of Education's public meeting, which started at 3 p.m.

5:30 p.m. – The board goes into closed session, concluding the public portion of the school board meeting.

5:24 p.m. – The board is considering adding additional days to the year-round 2010-2011 school calendar to meet state law requiring 180 days of instruction. There was an error in the school calendar approved March 17, 2009. It would add one additional day to Track 1 and take away one day from Track 4. The board approves the change.

5:10 p.m. – The board considers an amendment to the contract for legal services. The amendment, to a July 1, 2009, contract is for an additional $24,000 for legal services related to real estate matters. Some newly elected board members, not familiar with the contract, want more time to consider the amendment. Board member Kevin Hill puts forth a motion to approve it with an amended amount of $10,000. It is approved unanimously.

5 p.m. – The board moves into action items on the agenda. First up, renaming the Cary High School gym in honor of Charles Adams, a star athlete at the high school during the 1950s who taught and coached basketball there during the 1960s and served on with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. The board unanimously approves.

Up next, changes to the school calendar application resulting from the school board's decision to end mandatory year-round school assignments. Board members say they don't feel comfortable voting at this time.

Board member Debra Goldman puts forth a motion to table the decision until after public comment and after board members evaluate the results of the parent survey results. The board unanimously approves.

Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney expresses some concern about possibly extending the application period because of planning for the upcoming school year.

4 p.m. – The board hears from the public.

3:43 p.m. – The board goes into closed session until 4 p.m., when it will resume for public comment.

3:20 p.m. – Board hears an update on the school system's revenue stream for the 2010-2011 year. The superintendent's proposed budget will include a $20 million reduction in central services that will significantly affect schools. It assumes there will be no changes to funding.

Central service reductions include the elimination of vacant positions – which have been vacant since 2008. The temporary loss of support will become permanent. There will also be significant reductions in non-personnel services, meaning services would be eliminated and response times will go up. There will also be 75 to 100 filled positions eliminated.

If changes are made by the state, necessary adjustments will be made to the superintendent's budget.

The county is dealing with an $18 million gap in its budget. The superintendent's budget assumes no change in county funding.

Right now, the school system does not anticipate any current mid-year reductions in its budget.

3:08 p.m. – After a short break, the board resumes for its public meeting.

Board chair Ron Margiotta jokes that makeup days from the weekend's snow is probably "the most controversial issue" on the agenda. Makeup days are as follows:

  • Traditional calendar: Monday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, June 10
  • Modified calendar: Monday, Feb. 15 and Monday, Mar. 8
  • Wake early college: Monday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, April 1
  • Year-round calendar: Saturday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, May 1

The following are updates from the Wake County Board of Education's committee-as-a-whole meeting, which started at 1 p.m.

2 p.m. – The board is now hearing an update on the financial picture for Wake County and the Wake County Public School System and what that means for projects.

1 p.m. – The results of the survey are available online. David Holdzkom, assistant superintendent for Evaluation and Research, is presenting.

The parents of all students currently enrolled in grades K-12 were surveyed, as well as all school staff. Read the questions parents were asked.

The board received 39,611 responses after 774 responses were removed after being identified as duplicates and 959 removed because they had invalid student ID numbers.

Twenty-eight percent of the district responded to the survey over a 10-day period. About 68 percent of respondents were white. Nearly 15 percent were black. Hispanic participants made up 5.7 percent.

Of those responding, 825 respondents (2.1 percent) have students on a modified calendar, 17,936 (45.3 percent) are on a traditional calendar and 20,850 (52.6 percent) are on a year-round calendar.

The results are preliminary and the school board is only hearing the results, not analysis of them. The responses to some of the questions include (see full results):

Question 2: How satisfied are you with this child's school without regard to the calendar?

  • 58.8 percent – very satisfied
  • 35.7 percent – satisfied
  • 4.1 percent – dissatisfied
  • 1.1 percent – very dissatisfied
  • 0.3 percent – no response

Question 3: How satisfied are you with your experience so far with the calendar for this school?

  • 58.76 percent – very satisfied
  • 29.99 percent – satisfied
  • 6.85 percent – dissatisfied
  • 4.07 percent – very dissatisfied
  • 0.33 percent – no reponse

Question 6: Between these two types of calendars, which do you prefer for this child?

  • 48.80 percent – traditional
  • 44.75 percent – year-round
  • 6.17 percent – no preference
  • 0.29 percent – no response

Question 7: Would you still desire a year-round calendar for this child if he/she could not have the track that you wanted?

  • 40.18 percent – yes
  • 21.88 percent – no
  • 36.48 percent – do not want
  • 1.46 percent – no response

Question 12: Assuming that your child were to stay at his/her current school, would you still prefer that the school keep the same calendar or change to another type?

  • 80.90 percent – keep
  • 18.04 percent – change
  • 1.06 percent – no response

Question 13: If your child’s school converted to a calendar different from the one has, how likely would you be to try to move your child to another school?

  • 27.87 percent – very likely
  • 18.83 percent – likely
  • 29.61 – unlikely
  • 22.90 percent – very unlikely
  • 0.80 percent – no response

Some results from the staff survey (there were 8,839 respondents):

How important is the school calendar type in your decision about where to work?

  • 49.03 percent – very important
  • 36.59 percent – important
  • 12.53 percent – unimportant
  • 1.85 percent – very unimportant

Assuming that you continue to work at your current school, would you prefer that the school keep the same calendar or change to another type?

  • 78.96 percent – keep calendar
  • 21.04 percent – change calendar

If your school converted to a different calendar, how likely would you be to try to get a job at another school?

  • 19.62 percent – very likely
  • 20.94 percent – likely
  • 35.82 percent – unlikely
  • 23.61 percent – very unlikely

Board member Keith Sutton wants to change the site of one of the four community forums to an economically disadvantaged area.

He is also asking for a fifth community meeting to be added, saying fewer people in low-income areas took the survey. They want to see if a school is available for Feb. 11.

Those hearings are currently scheduled as follows:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Holly Springs High School, 5329 Cass Holt Road, Holly Springs
  • Thursday, Feb. 18 at Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Road, Wake Forest
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Leesville Road High School, 8409 Leesville Road, Raleigh
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 at Panther Creek High School, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary

Each meeting runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the schools' auditoriums.

Board Chairman Ron Margiotta wants a minimum of five school board members at the public hearings.

139 Comments

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  • bbj Feb 3, 2010

    I teach year round and I love it! So the kids miss a few hours on a Saturday, boo hoo. It better than missing 3 days over the traditional spring break which is really taking away any family/travel time at Easter. If you don't like it, don't send your kids to school. It's simple really. I however will be conducting business as usual in my classroom. We'll continue to focus on learning and teaching whether it's a Saturday or a Monday.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Feb 2, 2010

    It most certainly is excused. I already have the paperwork.

  • time4real Feb 2, 2010

    "I believe his educational tour of the White House, Senate, Smithsonian and other Washington DC attractions will more than make up for it."

    don't count on it be an excused abscense!

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Feb 2, 2010

    time4real: My kid will now have to miss school. I believe his educational tour of the White House, Senate, Smithsonian and other Washington DC attractions will more than make up for it.

    It's not always drinks by the pool and sandcastles, you know.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Feb 2, 2010

    pooh: Many people have other activities (sports, scouts, church) that they purposely schedule on Saturdays. In many cases, people have paid tuition, admission, etc. for the activity. Now they must choose between school and the activity. Your assumption that it is all about "vacation" or the parents insults the parents that are trying to expose their kids to other cultural, religious, athletic, etc. activities.

  • time4real Feb 2, 2010

    "I have heard just as many fussing about their spring break days they are losing.."

    all 1 of those spring break days, darn, what will they do.

  • flashyswife Feb 2, 2010

    Laurie1999
    Where is that list? I must have missed it.
    Thanks

  • Chris_H Feb 2, 2010

    Voluntary YR is definitely preferable over MYR and you can see this by the survey. Also did anyone notice how much the year round results went down once they had children on different calendars markedly were against YR. Having lived this experience it is not trivial. Do not think forcing people to YR is worthwhile and will never feel this way - by far track 4 is the most preferred track - oh I wonder why - most mirrors traditional .

  • poohperson2000 Feb 2, 2010

    "Wonder if the Year Round supports are happy now -- looks like 3 ruined weekends!!"

    When are people going to get over the vacation is ruined, my weekend is ruined approach. It is about the education of our kids and if they have to go on the weekend, guess what, we will survive. I have heard just as many fussing about their spring break days they are losing..

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Feb 2, 2010

    I have for some time stated that I thought the number of YR seats and traditional seats were probably not far off. They just need to let those "forced" into YR go to a traditional school and let those who have not been able to go YR because of "socioeconomic" reasons GO to a YR. The diversity mandate caused WAY too much trouble. You had people on the side of the fence they didn't desire simply because of the old board wanting diversity.

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