Wake County Schools

Blog: Wake school board talks assignment plan, bus rides, new schools

Posted September 6, 2011

Wake County Public School System
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Long school bus rides:

The school board disussed concerns about long bus rides and early pick up times for some Wake County students Tuesday. After hearing some public concern about how early some students head to the bus stop, the board wanted an update from Transportation Manager Bob Snidemiller. He told the board the average bus ride time for Wake County students is 16 minutes, but acknowledged there is a small percentage who currently ride for more than an hour and a half, and a handful longer than 2 hours. Snidemiller also said the earliest pick up time for some students is 5:40 a.m. He told the board the bus system is always slower the first few weeks of school, and assured them that time will improve.

Board vice-chairman John Tedesco suggested the school system review the current bus policy to see if it is necessary or possible to change how long students are allowed to be on the bus.

Snidemiller also reviewed what it might take to get all bus rides under an hour. He suggested changing all magnet school bus routes to express stops, or having a central location where students have to come to catch the bus, might be a way to do it. 

Tata says a final student assignment plan will be ready in less than a month:

A final student assignment plan will be ready by the first week in October. In the break bewteen Tuesday's school board work session and the full board meeting Superintendent Tony Tata confirmed that he will present a final plan to the board for discussion at their October 4th meeting. His student assignment task force is continuing to gather feedback from parents over the next two weeks through a series of community meetings. Tata says they are also working out the final details of transportion and feeder patterns in the new plan. Tata said the plan will be, “finalized, shrink wrapped, and ready for board discussion” at the start of next month.

Tuesday's Wake County school board meeting began Tuesday with an update on the new student assignment plan and a series of community meetings currently under way.

Superintendent Tony Tata and members of the Student Assignment Task Force told board members that they are still fine-tuning feeder patterns and transportation based, in part, on feedback from those meetings.

One big change since the last meeting, a name change for the formerly proposed achievement-choice schools. The idea is to allow students in historically low-performing areas to have a choice of attending a school with high-performing teachers.

Some board members, including chairman Ron Margiotta, have raised concerns about designating some schools as “achievement schools” when the goal is high student achievement for all. Those schools will still be an option moving forward under the new plan, but they are now called “high-performing” schools.

Tata and his staff also proposed some new alternative school ideas to the board Tuesday. One would be the addition of two separate magnet leadership academies, one all-male, one all-female.

It would involve restructuring the current Longview campus program, and both new schools would serve students in sixth through 12th grades. The idea is to open both of the new academies in 2012 to give students this option under the new choice plan.

Wake County schools staff also discussed the option of converting Hilburn Elementary School in Raleigh to a Kindergarten through 8th grade school beginning in 2012. Staff told the school board the move would open more middle school seats and postpone the need for building a new middle school in northwestern Wake County.

As the school board and staff continue talking about new school construction needs, Chief Facilities Officer Don Haydon updated the board members on some proposals Tuesday. He proposed building a new elementary and high school along with getting renovations underway at Cary High School with money left from a bond voters approved in 2006. Haydon also proposed building two additional high schools and a new elementary school with the next bond.

9 Comments

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  • Shamrock Sep 9, 2011

    "And why not? They've been doing it in Wake for years and years and you know who hasn't said a word about it? You, the voters!"
    YouMakeItSoEasy

    Oh yes we have been paying attention. Maybe you were not around here, or not paying attention yourself. Most school systems assign students, and WC is one that actually offers options if you do not like where you are assigned, or have special needs.

  • venitapeyton Sep 7, 2011

    YES! Finally in an open forum staff acknowledges how EARLY and HOW LONG 'certain' young people ride to school. 5:40 am is ridiculous! In my East Raleigh area its been around 6 am. Shameful that 'our' school board reps (Gill and Sutton)never thought it was a problem for the parents or the kids.

  • spedteacher Sep 6, 2011

    If they take Longview to create those 2 magnets, what are they going to do with the current Longview students?? The current students there are enrolled there for a reason- they need an alternative educational setting. They are not successful in a regular setting and generally spend more time suspended than in school......what a stupid idea to get rid of the only alternative school in Wake County!!!

  • taylor3297 Sep 6, 2011

    YouMakeItSoEasy- Do you realize that Longview is not a regular school?

  • vraptor Sep 6, 2011

    The FRL option is still on the table. They are trying to keep it secret. What plan is it called? The wake BOE needs to destroy all its records on FRL. It is illegal to have this data per the USDA.

    Yo. The new BOE that will be voted in this fall. You better destroy this illegal data store or we will have the USDA all over your bleep.

    Do you know what FOIA is??? We are going to use it this fall. This data must be destroyed or we will sue you into oblivion.

  • Screw WrAl Sep 6, 2011

    "You do not just PLACE a student at that school anywhere?"

    And why not? They've been doing it in Wake for years and years and you know who hasn't said a word about it? You, the voters!

  • due_whats_right Sep 6, 2011

    SO, to all my geniuses, if you "restructure" Longview's campus, where are those students going? You do not just PLACE a student at that school anywhere? Can some one shed some light on this for me?

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Sep 6, 2011

    vraptor: where does it say they're using this data? They're not "assigning", it's "parental choice".

  • vraptor Sep 6, 2011

    Yo. WRAL. Please inform 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 their parents make.