Blog: Wake school board meeting
Posted November 22, 2011
Cary, N.C. — Full Wake County School Board Meeting:
Tuesday night's full school board meeting is the last for board members Anne McLaurin, Carolyn Morrison, and chairman Ron Margiotta. Three newly elected school board members will be sworn in on December 6th. The last meeting started with words of thanks and appreciation from the superintendent and board members for those who are leaving. McLaurin, Morrison, and Margiotta also said a few words about their service.
One of the last major orders of business for the current board was a vote on the following Algebra placement policy:
In an effort to achieve the goal of all eligible middle school students completing Algebra I by the 8th grade, staff drafted a middle school math placement policy to ensure equity with regards to placement. Fiscal Implications: The draft policy requires the equitable distribution of resources to
ensure student success. This could include dollars for tutoring and/or other supplemental resources. This year we will allocate $342,720.00 to schools for tutoring.
Some board members have raised concern about the potential struggle for students placed in Algebra after scoring just above 70 percent on evaluation data. Those in favor of it argue many students who can benefit from Algebra are being left out under the current policy.
Because of lingering questions about how the new policy will be implemented board member Keith Sutton made a motion to table the vote for now until revisions can be made. The board voted 5-3 in favor of holding off on a vote.
Walnut Creek vote:
The board also voted unanimously to cap the current enrollment at Walnut Creek Elementary school. As noted in Tuesday's work session Walnut Creek Elementary School, which just opened this school year, is already nearly 150 students above capacity. The school day is 45 minutes longer to help with student development, and Walnut Creek, which is in a high poverty area, has additional resources and programs to improve student achievement.
The work session:
Tuesday's Wake County school board work session started with a presentation about Walnut Creek Elementary School which just opened this school year and is already nearly 150 students above capacity. Superintendent Tony Tata is asking the board to cap enrollment at the current number of students. Walnut Creek got a lot of attention before it opened because it is located in a high poverty area and more than 70 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The school day is 45 minutes longer to help with student development, and Walnut Creek has additional resources and programs to improve student achievement.
Staff members told the board they are already hiring additional teachers and just got approval to use title one funds to hire six more teachers assistants. They are also looking into making Walnut Creek and renaissance school.
The superintendent is also asking the board to approve adding four mobile classrooms to help ease class sizes in the kindergarten through second grade levels.
School Bus Policies:
Next up for the board, discussion of school bus policy. Head of transportation, Bob Snidemiller, told board members that all school bus rides are now at or under the one hour and 30 minute maximum allowed by policy, with the majority of students riding the bus for less than 30 minutes.. The board has raised concern about those student who ride the bus more than an hour each way. Snidemiller noted that most students who are currently on the bus for 60 to 90 minutes each way are those who choose to attend magnet schools.
One option up for discussion is adding express busing for magnet schools. Parents would be required to drop their kids off at a central location to catch the bus instead of sending them into the neighborhoods. Board members Debra Goldman and Kevin Hill raised concerns about the impact that might have on some parents ability to send their children to a magnet schools.
Revising the policy on resolutions:
One of the recommendations from AdvancED was to create a policy about resolutions. The accreditation group raised concern about the school board taking action without providing sufficient background information to all board members about a particular issue. School Board Attorney Ann Majestic helped revise a current policy that would now require the superintendent or any board member to provide adequate data and back-up information to help the board reach a sound and objective decision before introducing an action item. During the work session they adjusted that instead to just clarify that an action item can only be added to an agenda at the start of a meeting with a two-thirds vote.
Staff updated the board on the two newly added leadership academies.
The Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy and Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy will open in time for the 2012-2013 school year.
Wake County is currently finalizing details with William Peace University (formerly Peace College) about housing both academies on their campus.
Teresa Pierre will serve as principal, and Julia Taylor will serve as dean of the young women's academy. Ian Solomon will be principal of the young men's academy. Wake County is proposing uniforms for students in grades 6th through 10th at the leadership academies. Students who attend would be allowed to try out for sports at nearby Broughton High School and Wake County would provide transportation if they make the team.
Hilburn Academy Update:
The board recently approved making Hilburn Drive Elementary a K-8 school to help provide additional middle school seats. Next year they plan to phase in middle school by adding 104 6th graders. 7th and 8th grade students will be added over the next two years. Hilburn Academy will be a traditional calendar school. The school will have STEM and a Global Network school programs and add new technology, including laptops for middle school students and a Mac lab.
They will add elective programs including band and language courses in Spanish and Mandarin.