Wake County Schools

New Wake assignment proposal combines choice, address-based models

Posted September 19, 2012

— The Wake County Public School System is once again revising its student assignment plan, incorporating the old address-based model with the controlled choice method that debuted this school year.

Capacity issues within the growing school district hampered the choice plan, prompting the school board in June to direct staff to recommend a new assignment proposal for the 2013-14 school year. The board, with a newly elected Democrat-backed majority, requested that staff bring back a base assignment for each Wake County address while maintaining stability for families who have been burdened by disruptive reassignments in recent years. 

The move came just eight months after the former Republican-backed majority voted to implement the controlled choice plan.

At a meeting Tuesday, the school board heard the staff's assignment plan proposal but decided to hold off on five public hearings and a scheduled late October vote. Board members said the proposal needed "robust discussion" before it could be adopted, but generally agreed that it was a positive step toward a better assignment plan for the district.

Parents are encouraged to read the proposal on the school district's website and offer feedback online ahead of the public hearings, which have not yet been rescheduled.

Under the new plan proposal, every residential address will have a corresponding base elementary, middle and high school assignment that considers student achievement, stability, proximity, capacity, neighborhood planning and anticipated growth.

Wake student assignment proposal combines old with new Wake student assignment proposal combines old with new

All new families, as well as families who move to a new address within the county, will be assigned to a base school.

This past year, some parents were shocked when they moved right across from a school but couldn't get their children enrolled there because choice rounds were over and seats were filled. Under the new plan, however, students who live in the base area will get priority.

For families currently in the Wake schools system, parents will have the option to send children to the base school or rank among a list of other schools where they would prefer their children to attend.

Students in school this year will be allowed to stay in their current school, if parents wish.

"If you're happy where you are, you can grandfather in and stay where you are," Chief Transformation Officer Judy Peppler said Wednesday.

Before the controlled choice plan was adopted in 2011, children were routinely reassigned as the district struggled to fill new schools and balance others to prevent high concentrations of students from low-income families.

The new plan also does some balancing by taking student achievement into account when determining base attendance areas.

"As we looked at the neighborhood around the school, if there were a lot of kids, we had to move kids to a different school," she said. "We really tried to balance high-performing nodes with low-performing nodes so we can get a good balance of student achievement within a school."

A new deadline has not been set for the adoption of a 2013-14 student assignment plan.

5 Comments

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  • NCMom1 Sep 20, 12:21 p.m.

    Nuff, " the article state "parents will have the option to send children to the base school OR rank among a list of other schools where they would prefer their children to attend"

    It seems that schools were capped this year when parents didnt move to the school closets to them as expected. Parents were able to list 3-4 other choices and the County decided which of those the children would be sent to. (Which caused the issue of children of the same families being sent to different schools when the older was grandfather and the cap had been met when the parents tried to get their kindergartner into the same school) Of the families that I know, few received their 1st choice so an many cases the decision was made by the County...Maybe this go around they will pay more attention to how many different schools/buses will be coming through the same neighborhoods but from what they are saying, I still dont see what they are saying will improve how things went this year.

  • Screw WrAl Sep 20, 9:31 a.m.

    NCMom, this current plan didn't work because the new board decided it didn't work for them. What the public isn't being told yet, the next plan will place caps on schools. If your school is at capacity or over now you most likely won't get to go there because once they cap it you'll be moved. The difference with the next plan, you won't get a say where you'll be moved to. The board will have the only say.

  • NCMom1 Sep 20, 8:35 a.m.

    "For families currently in the Wake schools system, parents will have the option to send children to the base school or rank among a list of other schools..."

    I am not seeing how this will work. I thought a big reason the current plan didnt work because more parents chose to leave their children where they were rather than move them to the school closest. What kind of solution is over crowding the kids into the base schools with no regard to capacity?

  • Screw WrAl Sep 20, 8:09 a.m.

    We don't know what it does because the school board doesn't want us to see it. Once again they are keeping the facts from the public.

  • fishbowl Sep 19, 7:32 p.m.

    This county is leaving me just shaking my head...