Wake County Schools

Parents learn about Wake schools assignment proposal

Posted August 31, 2011

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— Wake County parents got the chance Wednesday evening to learn more about a student assignment plan that would give them a say in which school their child goes to but leaves some concerns about transportation and capacity.

About 33 people attended a meeting at Middle Creek High in Cary held by Superintendent Tony Tata and members of his student assignment task force.

Tata and the group are speaking to the public over the next three weeks about the choice-based student assignment plan he proposed in May. The choice-based plan replaces a decade-old busing for diversity program.

School board members seemed satisfied with the direction of the plan after a presentation by Tata earlier in August.

"We are headed in the right direction now," school board vice-chair John Tedesco said. "You saw the survey. Parents wanted proximity. That's everything we've been fighting for for two years."

wake school meeting Parents learn about Wake schools assignment

The new plan would let parents rank their choices among a variety of schools based on their address. Tata said an online test run of the plan showed that most parents are likely to choose the school nearest their home.

Recent updates to the proposal include adding proposed feeder patterns and broadening the options for students whose closest school is a magnet school.

School board members have expressed some concern about overcrowding popular schools and the cost of the proposal.

Tedesco said earlier in August that he is especially worried about Garner High School, which has a high number of mobile classrooms to accommodate its burgeoning enrollment.

"An excess of 2,000 additional students in a school built for 1,600? That's not right," Tedesco said.

The cost of transportation is also a question mark, depending on which schools parents want to send their children to.

"It may go up. It may go down," Tata said. "We've got good data that should get us in the ballpark of knowing exactly what that number is."

Task force member Susan Pullium said she hoped Wednesday's low turnout was because parents didn’t have many questions.

“We’re hoping that’s because they understand what’s been presented to the board at this point,” Pullium said. “Or it could be that they just didn’t know to get out here today.”

School board member Anne McLaurin thinks turnout will be higher at the other five meetings planned. 

Those meetings are scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. on:

  • Sept. 1 at Wakefield High, 2200 Wakefield Pines Dr. in Raleigh
  • Sept. 7 at Apex High, 1501 Laura Duncan Road in Apex
  • Sept. 8 at Southeast Raleigh High, 2600 Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh
  • Sept. 13 at Broughton High, 723 St. Mary's St. in Raleigh
  • Sept. 15 at East Wake High, 5101 Rolesville Road in Wendell

Parent Jan Powell preferred the diversity-based plan but said Wednesday she is encouraged by the Tata’s effort.

“He is a good listener, an active listener, so I do have some confidence that they’ve hopefully blended the two plans to satisfy most of us,” Powell said.

Tata hopes to bring a final plan for student assignment to the school board in October.

31 Comments

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  • whatsthepoint3x Sep 1, 2011

    "broadening the options for students whose closest school is a magnet school"

    If this means what I suspect, those kids closer to the magnets won't be going there, then the community results of this system are obvious.

    With proximity as the primary criteria and magnets protected from them formerly known as low income, the rim neighborhoods as we know them will wither. The rim schools already have plenty of capacity because there are a lot of older folks who live there. When they receive the influx lower performing students the school disciple and quality will fall rapidly. High performing students will leave the rim, heading for affordable housing far out in the suburbs (sprawl anyone?).

    If proximity is followed the quality of the magnet schools will fall rapidly and rim schools might do okay, but I don't think the powers that be will allow that.

    A Famous Libertarian: "Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner".

  • superk Sep 1, 2011

    I may be wrong about this, but if a parent wishes for their child to go to a school not in their district, shouldn't it be the parent's responsibility to get their child to school and home again? Makes sense to me. Plus, this would probably cut down some of the transportaion expense and aggravation experienced by all.

  • vraptor Aug 31, 2011

    WRAL. Please remind the Wake BOE of the following.

    http://conservativedailynews.com/2011/03/u-s-d-a-bans-wake-county-from-using-school-lunch-data-for-diversity-busing/

    U.S.D.A. Bans Wake County From Using School Lunch Data for ‘Diversity Busing’
    Mar 13th, 2011 | By Rich Mitchell (twitter: @CDNNow) | Category: North Carolina

    The controversial policy of using socio-economic information to place students into schools in North Carolina ran into a brick wall last week when the U.S.D.A. blocked Wake County from using its data.

    Department of Agriculture officials had informed Wake Country School District that it can not use confidential and private information from school lunch programs to re-assign students to other schools.

    Without that data Wake County would either have to ask for parents to volunteer their income information or abandon the idea of forcing kids into schools outside of their neighborhoods solely based on how much money th

  • Screw WrAl Aug 31, 2011

    "This was one of the main fear props the "new" Board used when scaring people into voting for them."

    Another uninformed goofball folks. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Screw WrAl Aug 31, 2011

    "sounds like we are going to pay MORE $$$$$"

    Do you personally have a problem with that? If so, you should attempt to sell your home and move now because you my friend ARE going to pay a lot more in taxes come next year, but it won't have a thing to do with a bus stop! Good luck with your short sell!!

  • SlickSnot Aug 31, 2011

    Posting comments is a privilege we are pleased to offer our visitors. Please understand that we set the bar high when it comes to online dialogue because it is our goal to create an environment for civil and productive community conversation.

  • SlickSnot Aug 31, 2011

    With the child obesity rate where it is today maybe they should make it 2 miles.

  • OGE Aug 31, 2011

    It was interesting seeing Tater and other back pedal last night when asked about how much buses will cost....they don't know if the cost will go up or down.

    This was one of the main fear props the "new" Board used when scaring people into voting for them.

  • wakemom Aug 31, 2011

    If we had locked the gates 30 yrs ago, we wouldn't be having these problems! :-)
    Garnerwolf1

    what do you mean?

  • Nancy Aug 31, 2011

    "The VP at her school blames the transportation department, which in turn blames it on the fact that our bus has a midle school route beforehand. Gee - if a bus cant be in 2 plaes at once then MAYBE you might want to fix something? The transportation department & the schools are masters at passing the buck back and forth until the parents give up." - karen

    All drivers, several years ago were required by WCPSS to run three routes AM and PM, one HS, MS and ES. And yes, if you saw the routes that have to be run in traffic, you would understand that a bus being late to the ES in the afternoon is more normal than you might like.

    Then again, I'm talking in 2000 - with kids going to school closer to home the routes will not take nearly as long, so there is hope.

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