Wake school board reverses diversity policy

Posted March 24, 2010

— The Wake County Board of Education voted Tuesday to end the school system's long-standing student assignment policy.

Wake school board approves resolution to end busing School board approves resolution to end busing

About 80 people spoke at a heated public hearing before the board voted 5-4 in favor of an assignment model in which students go to schools within a certain community zone.

The decade-old assignment method buses students across the district to help achieve socio-economic diversity, allowing no school more than 40 percent of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunches.

Newly elected board member John Tedesco said the majority's vision for a new model of neighborhood schools is to give parents choices. He said busing students to achieve diversity hasn't been working.

"That has only ended up promoting low expectations, and that model of education has not served us very well," Tedesco said Tuesday.

The community-based assignment plan was a key point in last year's election, in which voters elected Tedesco and three other candidates who said they supported moving away from the diversity policy.

Despite tensions over the plan, which have lingered for weeks, Tedesco joined board Chairman Ron Margiotta and members Deborah Prickett, Chris Malone and Debra Goldman in voting in favor of the neighborhood-schools resolution, while board members Keith Sutton, Kevin Hill, Anne McLaurin and Carolyn Morrison voted against it.

Opponents of the resolution said they fear it will lead to re-segregation.

"It certainly appears we have moved in that direction," McLaurin said.

"I am very disappointed," Sutton said following the vote.

The newly elected board members insist that they have no plans to segregate students.

"Everybody believes in diversity," Malone said. "We are a very integrated community, and we are going to continue being so."

Rev. William Barber, chairman of the state NAACP, said his group plans a "mass forum" to discuss the assignment change and that he will be scrutinizing every move of the board as they work on the community-schools model.

"Let it be known, your press to go backward will only serve to intensify our moral and political and legal fight to go forward. We will never go back," Barber told the board Tuesday.

Students protest outside Wake schools meeting Students protest outside Wake schools meeting

A crowd of students also chanted, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Re-segregation has got to go," outside as the meeting was held in the district’s administration building. Three people were arrested and taken to the Wake County jail.

With the resolution passed, a student assignment committee will take input and create a plan for community assignment zones over the next nine to 15 months.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 26, 2010

    Thanks, imback. Someone flagged my comment equating the supporters' victory celebration with a Klan rally, but your reponse kept my comment on the board. :-)

    Yes, I think many of the supporters of this ruling have ZERO concern over anyone else in the community, except themselves and wouldn't care if schools were, indeed, resegregated as a result of this decision.

    If they truly valued the community as a whole, they wouldn't just SAY so, they'd act. They would work to ensure what was best for all socio-economic classes in our society. actions speaking louder than words and all that....

  • soyousay Mar 25, 2010

    and PTA fund raising efforts. Not from the government. That's how "white" schools get rooms full of new computers and stuff.
    Welll Rhoand fundraining will help to decorate all those learning cottages (Its what people hear call trailers) that will pop up to deal with overcrowding when there is no money to build new schools. Remember if there is one drop of capacity left in the system, alot of taxpayers are fed up with the nonsense and will not vote for another out of control school building bond

  • rhoda_penmark Mar 25, 2010

    "As long as every school is funded equally then I have no problem with neighborhood schools."
    The problem is, a lot of schools get money from parent volunteer organizations and PTA fund raising efforts. Not from the government. That's how "white" schools get rooms full of new computers and stuff. So, parents of children assigned to any school can work at fundraising, can they not, regardless of race?

  • the genius Mar 25, 2010

    fact is the new policy is gonna segregate the schools again. they claim it wont but we all know it will. thats what they wanted... who cares about minorities anyway, they arent that important anyway so lets just go back to our all white schools, safe, diverse free schools that will be much better funded and well kept, it will be so much more enjoyable and safe from the others...(EXTREMELY SARCASTIC!!!!) wake county is lame for real and now the school system will join charlotte and greensboro and not even register on the radar of the best school districts in the country.

  • ncmedic201 Mar 24, 2010

    I think you are fooling yourself if you really think busing will end and you will truly have "neighborhood" schools. The schools will still be overpopulated as they have been and as new neighborhoods continue to be built you will continue to have reassignments.

  • NoFreakinWay Mar 24, 2010

    "I have no problem with neighborhood schools"

    good, cause you're getting 'em!

  • butler240 Mar 24, 2010

    Lets see..... 30 years of diversity and what do we have to show for it. Really diverse UNDEREDUCATED kids.

    Time to try something different.

  • john283594 Mar 24, 2010

    As long as every school is funded equally then I have no problem with neighborhood schools.

  • Remy Mar 24, 2010

    "I figure that is next for the pseudo-liberals in wealthier-land." djofral

    Once again, people seesm to think everyone in Cary is rich. I grew up in Cary, I bought my first house in Cary, and I can say from personnal experience that everyone in Cary is not rich. My first place cost under 40K. They have upper and lower income areas, just like very other ocmmunity in the area. Get over it already.

  • djofraleigh Mar 24, 2010

    I can live with this, for most schools don't have the bussing for socio-econ diversity, but I won't be able to tolerate allowing Cary to pull out of the WC system for a city system. I figure that is next for the pseudo-liberals in wealthier-land.