Wake County Schools

Wake student assigment plan creator pleased with application

Posted June 5, 2012
Updated June 6, 2012

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— The architect of the Wake County Public School System's choice-based student assignment plan said Tuesday he's pleased with how the plan was implemented, but seems some room for improvement.

Education consultant Michael Alves said existing overcrowding caused some kinks in the execution of the plan, but pointed out that the majority of students got their top school choice.

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"So far, the choice plan has worked," Alves said. 

He said the plan was especially successful with rising kindergartners and that his model sets out a feeder pattern for students through middle and high school. 

"They are not going to be reassigned and told to go to another school next year," Alves said. 

He said capacity and balancing demographic diversity are still issues for the school system.

After assignments were made, students receiving free and reduced lunch increased by more than three percent at 25 schools. At one school, it increased by more than 11 percent.

Six schools saw a decrease of three percent or more in the number of student receiving free and reduced lunch.

Still, Superintendent Tony Tata stands behind the plan, saying fewer parents are filing transfer requests than in previous years.

"That is an indicator of satisfaction," he said. Wake student assigment plan creator pleased with application Wake student assigment plan creator pleased with application

In other business at the Wake County Board of Education meeting Tuesday, board members voted unanimously to extend the student wait list period to July 18. Waiting lists were set to expire July 29.

That means families who are waiting for a seat at a school they prefer over their current assignment will have three more weeks to wait for a spot to become available.

The school board also voted to join the North Carolina School Boards Association in their request to intervene in litigation between the State Board of Education and the N.C. Learns Virtual Charter School. The charter school is suing the state in an effort to force them to allow online K-12 schools to operate in North Carolina.

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  • mmmdonuts Jun 12, 2012

    We were automatically assigned (not thru Choice Plan) to the YR school we would have chosen. Great, right? Then we were told that we wouldn't have transportation...TO THE SCHOOL WE WERE ASSIGNED!!!

    So is that how success is measured?

  • westernwake1 Jun 7, 2012

    "How can the plan for next year be a neighbhood plan when students wont be reassigned. How do they plan to fill the new schools with students. How will the new people get an assignment close to their home if no one is reassigned. Seems like their plan is a one shot deal for neighbhood schools. This coming year it will be neighbhood school plan but in the years to come it wont be." - superman

    Let's state it again very clearly - the "Choice Plan" implemented by Wake County is NOT a "Neighborhood School Plan". The Choice Plan is a compromise assignment plan that takes in account capacity, transportation cost, diversity, staffing, proximity, construction, and many other factors.

    A real Neighborhood School Plan (that is implemented by over 95% of the school systems in the U.S.) involves the permanent assignment of a household to a permanent base school. Newly constructed sub-divisions are put in new schools and re-assignments do not occur to existing homes.

  • superman Jun 7, 2012

    How can the plan for next year be a neighbhood plan when students wont be reassigned. How do they plan to fill the new schools with students. How will the new people get an assignment close to their home if no one is reassigned. Seems like their plan is a one shot deal for neighbhood schools. This coming year it will be neighbhood school plan but in the years to come it wont be. They will have to fill the new schools they are building somehow and that doesnt include reassignment. So how they going to say they have a NH school plan next year? New students will have to be bused to the new schools without any regard as to where they live. This is really going to compound the busing issue for the 2013 school year. But then this board is kinda shortsighted and cant look ahead. This plan seems to be no better than the old plan.

  • ShastaDaisy Jun 6, 2012

    I have a child who is new to the system who cannot get into the school that is within walking distance of our house and that is also the school his sibling attends. My family is not pleased with the application of this plan.

  • Honesty first Jun 6, 2012

    If you are new to the Wake School System, you will find you have little say in where your child goes to school. Notice I said new to the WCPSS, not Wake County. If you are in Private school, Charter school, or are homeschooled, it is like you have just moved into Wake County. You can live next door to a school that is "full" and you will be getting on a bus.

  • westernwake1 Jun 6, 2012

    "westernwake1, I thought that the transportation costs actually increased because the number of buses needed increased." - Hippy_mom

    Here is an earlier WRAL article: Wake school board mulls rerouting buses to save $10M -
    http://www.wral.com/news/education/wake_county_schools/story/10699963/

    'The Wake County school board considered a proposal from district staff Tuesday that would change bus routes to increase efficiency and cut costs by as much as $10 million.'

    'Under the proposed bus route changes, district staff said more than 100 buses would be taken off the street, cutting down on fuel and maintenance costs.'

    This proposal was put into place, the down-side is that it required the changing of start times at many schools which naturally caused some parents to have issues. This type of proposal could only be put in place because the new Choice plan enabled to the implementation of local transportation districts that allowed the rerouting of bus routes.

  • superman Jun 6, 2012

    Just asking but if they dont reassign students how do they plan to deal with new residents and new schools opening? Does that mean new students would be bused across the county to a new school? With a billion dollars in bond money and the always changing influx of new students I just dont see how they can avoid reassigning students. Seems like new students will be short changed in the plan.

  • gabi Jun 6, 2012

    There are up sides and down sides to any plan that might have been implemented. Yes, the first year or two of ANY plan is a hassle for everyone involved. Once things settle down, however, I have a feeling most people will find themselves happy enough. You can't make all the people happy all the time. It's just a flat impossibility. For those who aren't happy with the schools they were given to choose from, I'm really sorry. For those who didn't get their first choice, I'm sorry.

    No person is perfect, no plan is perfect. There are *ALWAYS* going to be people unhappy with what they get, and people *ALWAYS* want to know why their neighbor got their choice and they didn't. Just remember, it's not all about you *or* your convenience *or* what's best for only your own child. It's about what's best for the county as a whole and what's best for the kids overall. We all (and this includes the school board) try to do the best we can with what we have.

  • Hippy_mom Jun 6, 2012

    westernwake1, I thought that the transportation costs actually increased because the number of buses needed increased. That was the reason so many schedules were amended, right? So that fewer buses would be needed?

    Also, just because people aren't complaining doesn't mean they love, love, love the plan. It could simply mean that people aren't voicing their opinions. Time will tell whether this plan is the end-all-be-all. In the meantime it would be great to see the parents and citizens—on both sides—who had the time and energy to express their opinions spend the same amount of time volunteering at the schools. That's very Pollyanna, I know, but it would be nice to think people care just as much when the TV cameras and national press aren't on the scene.

  • ckblackm Jun 6, 2012

    It would have been nice to have been selected for one of the schools we asked for... but I guess you can't please everyone.

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