Survey results: Wake parents mostly satisfied with school assignments

Posted February 2, 2010

— Most parents with students enrolled in the Wake County Public School System appear to like the school to which their child is assigned, according to preliminary results of a survey presented Tuesday to school board members.

The board sought parents' input as it considers changes to student assignment. Parents had about two weeks to respond to questions about their attitudes toward the year-round calendar, which can accommodate more students than schools on a traditional calendar.

School board gets survey results School board gets survey results

The board received 39,611 responses from parents – about 28 percent of those in the district. Of those responding, 45.3 percent had children enrolled in a traditional-calendar school and 52.6 percent enrolled in a year-round school.

"We got a good response from year-round schools," Board of Education Chairman Ron Margiotta said. "That is what we have been looking for."

The results are not final and offer no analysis of the survey results. The focus of the results will likely be on responses from parents at individual schools.

Three year-round schools – Leesville Middle, Salem Middle and Wakefield Elementary – had parents indicating they do not prefer year-round schools. Parents at other year-round schools were mostly in favor of the calendar.

Among other results:

  • More than 94 percent of survey respondents indicated they were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their child's school regardless of the calendar type.
  • More than 61 percent of year-round parents indicated they were very satisfied with their child's school; 33.27 indicated they were satisfied. Parents with students at traditional calendar schools had similar results – 55.8 percent– indicated they were very satisfied. About 38 percent were satisfied.
  • When asked how satisfied they were with the calendar of the school their child attends, 83 percent of parents indicated that they were pleased – about 58 percent were "very satisfied" and nearly 25 percent were "satisfied."
  • Nearly 49 percent of respondents said they preferred traditional schools; 44.75 preferred year-round schools. Of parents with students enrolled in traditional calendar schools, 77.34 percent indicated they preferred traditional. Nearly 71 percent of year-round parents favored year-round schools.

School staff said Tuesday it is too early to know what changes might be made.

"We have not had the time to analyze the results," said David Holdzkom, assistant superintendent for evaluation and research.

Board members said no decisions should be made until results are clear.

Board member Keith Sutton expressed concerns about the low response rate from parents in economically disadvantaged areas – 15 percent of those who took the survey had children on free and reduced lunch –  and asked for a fifth community meeting on year-round schools to be held in the area.

School staff are looking at the possibility of a Feb. 11 date. Other meetings are:

  • 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.

The school system received more than 41,000 responses, but 774 were removed from the pool because they were identified as duplicates. Another 959 were removed because they had invalid student ID numbers.


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  • BubbaDuke Feb 4, 2010

    I don't see the need for another survey, just because a particular segment of society didn't respond to the first surveys. It's simply indicative of the apathy and state of mind of 'economically disadvantaged' citizens to place less emphasis on educating their kids when they themselves lack an adequate education. If their kids can spell better or perform math better than the parents, the parents believe their kids are learning. As a group, poorer parents are willing to accept a "C" grade from their children, where more prosperous parents expect an "A" from their students. Part of the apathy could be the result of parents and students who don't hold out much hope for their future - seeing themselves as victims rather than as in charge of their destinies. A person's economic status has little to do with their aptitude or potential, but has much to do with their attitude and knowledge. Dr. Thomas Sowell is a great example of someone rising above circumstances to achieve success.

  • superman Feb 4, 2010

    I agree the survey should have been extended to all taxpayers. My wife and I am retired and we dont have children-- so why should 80% of our tax dollars go to provide an education for people who elect to have children and cant afford them. I understand the School Board is going to have a Bake Sale to make up the budget deficit. It is not smart to make decisions on what people want-- it is far better to make decisions based on what you can afford! Year Round schools provide for the use of facilites 12 months. If I had an apt building or office building I would want it rented and used 100% of the time. Who cares what you want or what is most convenient? Spend my money wisely!

  • bugs10 Feb 3, 2010

    Wow I am stunned at some of the comments here... By conducting this survey, they are simply doing what they promised to do in their campaign - what a novel idea!! I do feel that it should have been extended beyond those parents who have children in WCPSS, to taxpayers. I am a parent that has chosen private school for my child not because I am rich and have nothing else to do with my money, but because WCPSS cannot offer me a decent option. I happen to live near the worst-perfoming base schools (elem, middle and high), and because we are not F&R, I've accepted the fact that getting in to a magnet school just is not going to happen. I am tired of the bussing so that we can water down the results instead of fixing the schools that need the help. I applaud the school board for fulfilling their promises by soliciting input.

  • Mom2two Feb 3, 2010

    "What happened to the system where all the kids in the neighboorhood went to the same school, grew up together, had memories that last lifetimes."

    What happened is that Wake County became a boom-town. You want true neighborhood schools where everyone grows up together? (like when I was growing up in Raleigh) Unfortunately, you'll likely need to move to Angier or Lillington or Benson or Bunn or some small town like that.

    Neighborhoods have been permitted and built at a rate that is faster than the construction of the infrastructure necessary to support it. Hence the "pain" part of growing pains.

  • time4real Feb 3, 2010

    "survey shows that parents overwhelmingly are happy with their current situation"
    no, what it shows is that many parents are just flat lazy!

    "I'm betting the new board ignores the survey and goes ahead with their original plans anyway."
    I bet they do too and sure do hope so!

  • Desiderata Feb 3, 2010

    Not a fair survey..not everyone is a computer freak to send in surveys on the web..these days ..imagine ..some people do not /can't afford the internet! Very biased!

  • bill0 Feb 3, 2010

    I guess this will show the true colors of the new board members. They claimed that parents overwhelmingly opposed most of the old board's policies. Now, their own survey shows that parents overwhelmingly are happy with their current situation. They like their school whether it is on a traditional calendar or YR. The new board members campaigned on neighborhood schools and a massive redistricting plan which would be a 180 from what the very popular status quo.

    I'm betting the new board ignores the survey (or lies about it) and goes ahead with their original plans anyway. I guess that is what we get when only a tiny, vocal minority bothers to show up on polling day.

  • frogger Feb 3, 2010

    "The year round calendar was made up by some soccer mom who's husband has money and could go every nine weeks and have her kids at home for three."

    That is bologna! I too had a kid in yr the year after it started in Wake County. Even when my now 21 year old was in elem school, days cares had track out programs. Through the years I've had kids at 2 different schools and one in high school (traditional) and one in year round and it was simple. We took vacations during summer when one was tracked out. Those that think it's difficult are clearly in the dark.

  • time4real Feb 3, 2010

    "Nearly 49 percent of respondents said they preferred traditional schools; 44.75 preferred year-round schools."

    this is correct, although the kook fringe is spinning it otherwise.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Feb 3, 2010

    so does 70% of 44.75% mean only .7*45 or 31% REALLY want YR?