Wake County Schools

Hill wants reassignment work session with new board

Posted November 21, 2011

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— A re-elected Wake County school board member wants to review the school system's new student assignment plan when three new board members are sworn into office next month.

Kevin Hill, who voted against the plan last month because of some concerns he had, said Monday that he would like to schedule a work session for Dec. 7 – the day after the first meeting of the Democratic-backed majority – or as soon as possible.

"I can’t speak for new board members, but the meeting is for the purpose of talking about the assignment plan and budget questions associated with the assignment plan," Hill said Monday.

"Many questions and concerns are coming from parents as details are better understood, so I would like to present staff with some of those concerns before Dec. 7 and then have an old-fashioned work session to talk about them," he continued.

The plan for the new policy, implemented by the current Republican-controlled board and takes effect next school year, essentially gives parents a list of schools that their children are eligible to attend based on where they live and allows parents to rank their preferences. The process replaces a decade-old practice of busing students to keep schools socio-economically diverse.

"We've got a lot of time-sensitive issues to look at," Hill said. "The superintendent, himself, said there are some areas that need some work on the plan, that it's a work in progress."

"Let's connect the dots about what some of these suggestions are going to cost in terms of budget," he continued. "Is it sustainable?"

Superintendent Tony Tata said he and his staff will be prepared anytime the board decides to meet to discuss the plan.

Students Hill wants reassignment work session with new board

A Democrat, Hill has said that he believes the new plan is a good one, but among his concerns is what he believes to be a lack of seating in high-performing schools that's supposed to be guaranteed for students enrolled in traditionally low-performing schools.

His vote against the plan was a central issue in his re-election bid.

Republican supporters of the new assignment policy, including Board Vice-Chairman John Tedesco, said they worried that if Hill were re-elected and the board majority shifted to Democrats, he would move to dismantle the policy.

Hill has maintained that he has no intention to do so, saying he likes the new plan but feels it needs to be tweaked.

Tedesco said Monday that he's OK with a special work session if it is just to help new members better understand the new plan.

"If it is to change the new choice plan or to alter the way families have options into their school – this late in the game, I would be very concerned."

Hill's work session request is reminiscent to two years ago when the four Republican board members, including Tedesco, were sworn into office and along with board Chairman Ron Margiotta, also a Republican, made major policy changes on the same day.

Tedesco admitted Monday that wasn't the best way to conduct business.

"As a leader, I think we should all grow with hindsight. I've learned, myself, if I could do some things differently, maybe the first meeting we had two years ago is not the model to follow," he said. "I don't think doing all those things on the second day either would be the model to follow."

Hill, however, said he doesn't plan on making any sweeping changes.

"We (he and the new school board members) really have not been meeting or really discussing it other than we really felt we do need a meeting early on," he said.

29 Comments

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  • LBJ192 Nov 23, 2011

    time for tedesco to stomp his little foot and start he name calling.

  • Screw WrAl Nov 22, 2011

    "The craziness is hopefully over."

    Not in a million years buddy. It's about to shoot straight up.

  • LessGvt Nov 22, 2011

    Looks as if all the new school board members got a wake county education. They have no idea what they are doing and will make things even worse. Why not at least try the new plan, you might be surprised that it may actually work and benefit the kids. Leave your political games to the professionals in Washington and do what is right for a change.

  • JDNCSU Nov 22, 2011

    Ilovemyboys, where did you get 85 new busses from? Google this and see the sources: "Transportation leaders estimate they will need to buy an additional 15 to 25 buses at $87,000 each to make it work at first." So maybe you need to do a better job to educate yourself.

    But yes, I do get it. The "choice" plan is impractical because it will mean higher costs, whether be it for 15 or 25 or 85 busses and their associated operating expenses. I think the plan was doomed even under the prior regime as it could not guarantee choice. All moot points now the board has flipped again.

    I would like to see a cost saving analysis where a kid is assigned to the closest school, NOT to parent choice. In the $50M transportation budget, how much is spent to bus kids in teh name of "diversity"? 5%? 10% 20%? More?? THESE are the savings that could be routed back into the lower performing schools. Granted, they won't be back up to par in one year but over several years it oculd make a significant

  • whistler411 Nov 22, 2011

    Kevin is going to be no more dictatorial than Margiotta and Tedesco have been, so quit your crying.

  • Ilovemyboys Nov 22, 2011

    YouMakeItSoEasy - I now understand why you feel so strongly about the busing for diversity. It's not because you feel compassion for 'all those poor kids' from Walnut Creek that are being bussed so far away from their homes; it's because you don't want them being bussed to a school near YOUR home. As Stephen Colbert stated, you don't want 'to get poor all over you'. Nice.

  • Screw WrAl Nov 22, 2011

    "With that being said, there is no need to "review" the assignment plan now. It's well on its way and should just be left alone."

    Sorry, Kevin's in charge. He wants to review/end it before it ever begins. He has to find a legal way to reassign all those poor kids out of Walnut Creek. So they will.

  • whistler411 Nov 22, 2011

    I am always amused by how each side continues to spew that the other side is only aligned with a political party and their agenda with no regard to anything else. With that being said, there is no need to "review" the assignment plan now. It's well on its way and should just be left alone. And for the record, I favor diversity, but it's time all of you clowns stop making a joke out of Wake county schools - well, a bigger joke than it usually is.

  • Screw WrAl Nov 22, 2011

    "Parents are going to be in an uproar when they do not get their choices or are forced to change schools, AGAIN. Taxpayers are going to revolt at the higher taxes needed to make this plan work."

    Those who are angry, in an uproar, want to revolt, too bad. This is what they voted for. Give it to them. You can bet the new board will.

  • Shamrock Nov 22, 2011

    "he's still spewing his lies"

    LOL! The pot calling the kettle black.

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