Raleigh, N.C. — The devil is in the details for a few thousand families as the Wake County schools' choice-based student assignment plan winds down its first year of use.
Superintendent Tony Tata said that so far, the district has assigned more than 151,000 students among 169 schools. That's about 800 more students than expected, mostly because of transfers from private and charter schools, as well as population growth.
About 3,500 families had requested transfers from their assigned schools, as of June 1 – one of the lowest percentages in years, Tata said.
"We feel pretty good about the assignment plan and getting students to the schools that their parents want them in," he said.
Approximately half the transfer requests are getting approval, according to the superintendent. In general, he said, requests are granted if schools have room, but if schools are already full, requests are granted only in "rare exceptions," such as if a sibling attends that school.
Parents who are denied transfer requests can appeal to the school board. New families who move into the area can submit a transfer request within 10 days of receiving their official assignment.
Tata said that most cases of parents not getting the school of their choice are due to capacity problems. Coming out of this school year, the last under the old assignment plan, 55 schools were 110 percent or more over capacity, and 44 schools were 90 percent under capacity.
Tata said that going forward, the assignment plan will be tweaked to address capacity problems. "We want to make this the best possible plan for Wake County, because we understand we ran into capacity issues this year," he said.
Parents have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit feedback on the new assignment plan online or at their child's school.
"We just want to get this right for all Wake County parents," Tata said.