Diversity, athletics mark talks on Wake school transfer

Posted May 12, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County school board Wednesday again bumped up against its goal of taking diversity out of student assignment considerations as it reviewed the school system's policy on granting transfers between schools.

The current policy, No. 6203, says that "maintenance of appropriate socioeconomic and achievement diversity in all schools" has to be considered in deciding whether to grant a transfer request. Transfers requests that "contribute to ... greater socioeconomic and achievement diversity may be approved" by the system's Growth and Management Department, which handles assignments, it says.

In light of the school board's current move to take diversity out of the student-assignment process, the Policy Committee discussed removing the language from transfers, too. Chairwoman Debra Goldman, saying the issue would no doubt engender discussion, said it will go to the board's Committee of the Whole next week, when all members attend.

The board has split 5-4 on most votes about how to assign students to schools, with Chairman Ron Margiotta and four members elected last fall, including Goldman, voting for change. They prefer a model based on Community-based assignments that they say will keep students as close to home as possible and reduce the frequency of transfers.

The committee also debated whether to alter language that aims to prevent students changing schools to play sports and to discourage recruiting between schools for top athletes.

Goldman said she is concerned that students who may not be able to play a sport at their assigned schools have to say that athletics isn't part of asking for a transfer.

Bobby Guthrie, the district's senior director of athletics, told Goldman's panel, "When we changed this policy, we had several things occurring" that officials wanted to stop.

Now, Guthrie said after referring to districts that have been stripped of sports titles because of eligibility issues, "When I hear of others, I think, 'Boy, we have a dream world here.'"

Board member and former high school principal Kevin Hill said the principal of a school from which a student is transferring can "release" the student, avoiding a yearlong red-shirt period the policy sets.

In the end, the committee decided only to add "without an appeal" to a section heading that says transfer students "may not be allowed" to play sports.

The committee also looked at a policy that governs school bus routing and where bus stops can be put. Members agreed they dislike a rule that allows for a maximum ride of two hours for middle and high school students, but heeded Finance Committee Chair Keith Sutton's plea not to take on any changes now, when the district is trying to close a $20 million budget gap and still does not know how much funding it will get from the county commissioners.

The committee also heard a plea from the Growth and Management Staff to make it policy to finish any board-ordered reassignments earlier than this year's April 6 wrap-up. Assignments are due to parents of all 140,000 students by June 1.

Custom has had the school board wrapping up its changes in February, department director Laura Evans told the group, even though policy gives it until May 1. The committee will take up a possible change to March 1, suggested by member Chris Malone.


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  • Mugu May 13, 2010

    I think that a voucher system would work best, kids can go to any school they want in the district, if they take care of their own transportation.

  • smalldogsrule May 13, 2010

    your comment is spoken like a typical arrogant parent who thinks teachers are day care providers and can be "placed" wherever convienient.

    And your comment is spoken like an arrogant diploma holder that forgets they are PUBLIC EMPLOYEES and they can be put wherever the COUNTY sees fit to put them. If they don't like it, get a job in a PRIVATE school if you they are good enough.

  • jonnraleigh May 12, 2010

    One thing a lot of folks who talk about the lower poverty schools don't understand is that there will never be the same financial resources available to those schools. The state and county will always allot the same dollars per child, but that doesn't account for the 10's of thousands of dollars raised by the more affluent PTA's. The schools in lower income areas will never be able to raise the same kind of monies that the mom's in Cary and N Raleigh who nothing to do but fundraise can do. Any principal or school system administrator can tell you that. How are we going to make up that gap?

  • rand321 May 12, 2010

    Diversity is good if they can get physically attractive atheletes to sport their school colors? Suddenly, the higher income areas love diversity?

    yea, right!

  • lyteoflife May 12, 2010

    this is so mumbled...question to readers: this this saying that if you transfer you are not allowed to play sports??? That is insane/unfair etc. You have a lot of kids who excel on and off the field which gets them an even better chance of college scholarships. My child plays sports and does not go to her base now what??? Does this apply for the first year or always?? Why are charter schools held to higher standards....if it is all about should be the same no matter where you go

  • thereitis May 12, 2010


  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy May 12, 2010

    So what's wrong with hazard pay for the lower performing schools?

  • workerbee May 12, 2010

    Eduardo....your comment is spoken like a typical arrogant parent who thinks teachers are day care providers and can be "placed" wherever convienient. These are professional people who like everyone else wants to work in a school where they are respected, parent supported, and provided a teaching environment suiable for present uninterrupted lessons. Based on experience from teacher friends, you will not find any of these things in low income schools and no self respecting teacher will stay long enough to get a two year anniversary. The migration to "good" schools is starting for the students. Teachers will not be far behind.

  • NoFreakinWay May 12, 2010

    "bumped up against its goal",
    by this time next week we'll be saying, diversity who?
    they really used to do that?

  • Eduardo1 May 12, 2010

    How about we transfer "BETTER" TEACHERS to schools with lower scores.
    Is it the school building or the Teachers that account for students getter better marks?
    Do the parents involvement account for better marks?
    As far as I am concerned socio-economic is nothing but a racist remark, and so is diversity