Wake County Schools

Wake schools assignment committee back to basics

Posted October 12, 2010
Updated October 13, 2010

— With political fire over student assignment damped down at least temporarily by a surprise school board vote last week, the committee charged with implementing a new policy shifted Tuesday from proposed maps to the meaty details of operations in the 143,000-student Wake County Public School System.

The board swerved last week from the course it had followed since last November’s elections. It voted 5-3 to pull the plug immediately on a plan to put a community-based assignment policy into effect by creating a series of school assignment zones and to dump socio-economic diversity as a criterion.

With discussions reset Tuesday, the term most used during a three-hour Student Assignment Committee meeting was “equity.”

Administrators gave the committee dozens and dozens of pages laying out the basic mechanics of school funding and how program offerings differ across the county’s 163 schools.

“It puts an end to the zones and it puts us back to where we were before the election,” board member Chris Malone, who was elected last year with three other opponents of continuity assignment based on trying to balance socio-economic diversity across the schools, said about last week's action.

“It” was board Vice Chair Debra Goldman's resolution to stop the mapping process in its tracks. Goldman, another of the newcomers, had voted with the other three and Chairman Ron Margiotta for the community-based policy.

The process in Tedesco’s committee was moving too fast, and not enough voices from the board and community were being heard, she said, though she also said she said she remains committed to community-based assignment.

Wake assignment committee back to basics Wake assignment committee back to basics

Goldman is expected to discuss her concerns about how to do it in a forum Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Cary Town Hall.

“I believe that we don't need to completely tear down and start over,” she said last week. “I believe we can keep what is working and address the areas where there are problems.”

She said she wants an "equity-based" system that still works toward community-based schools without “putting in lines and dividing communities.”

The equity theme has been heard frequently in another committee Tedesco chairs, the Economically Disadvantaged Student Performance Task Force. Equity, in those discussions and in the committee meeting Tuesday, means giving each school the resources to have students succeed.

Assignment Committee members noted that how students are assigned to schools affects the demands on teachers and what resources are available to inspire students.

"What role does assignment play" in helping or hurting schools in maximizing "the effectiveness of the dollars" that come to them through the district's formulas, said Anne Cooper, one of the nine non-voting community members of the committee.

"All of that plays a role into the questions that we want to ask ourselves," Tedesco said.

David Williams, another of the community committee members, summed up the potential power of the mounds of data that staff presented.

If all the information about district funding, grants and PTA funding and program differences like AP courses and JROTC could be summarized in one document, Williams suggested, "Maybe we'll see why some schools are more popular than others."

Keith Sutton, one of the board's minority that opposed the policy change through a series of contentious 5-4 votes, said Tuesday, "I certainly think it’s a new direction. I don’t know that we’re necessarily starting over. He added that the committee is right "going back to what we had or looking at the pieces that we're working with in terms of what we had and looking at how we can make some modifications to that, to improve it."

Asked about the committee's direction, Tedesco said, "I guess we’re going to have to continue talking about that as a committee. I wish I knew. I’ll be honest with you I don’t have a clear answer as of now. …”

"We had real hope and promise," Tedesco said of the proposed assignment zones.

Malone and Tedesco both noted that Goldman was not at the meeting.

"She’s a busy lady. She has a lot of meetings, I guess," Tedesco said. He and Goldman had traded barbs during last week's board meeting, and he later referred to her on a Facebook page as "Benedict Goldman."



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  • brassy Oct 13, 2010

    I hope the people who voted for Goldman are paying attention.

  • soyousay Oct 12, 2010

    crazy..And WRAL creates a news story to stoke the flames again by reminding us all of Tedesco's Facebook

    why because it's true? and you fell head over heels for a guy that makes it up as he goes along?

  • soyousay Oct 12, 2010

    m...Where are the accusations of hate?

    hearing voices again?

  • superman Oct 12, 2010

    Many of you will be very surprised if and when neighborhood schools are implemented. Millions of the federal dollars will go to the non-white schools. The money is earmarked for disadvantaged and handicapped. Neighborhood schools who have well to do rich parents will not receive any federal funding. Most schools will lose federal teachers, money for supplies and materials as well as equipment. The federal Food Service in the schools will also be affected. The board better know where the money is coming from and how it can be spent or they going to find themselves in real trouble with school funding. Before I retired, I was a former finance director for a school system. It ain't as easy as ABC. I dont know the amount of fed funding for Wake County but it could be easily be 10-15 million. How you going to like those apples when it goes to non-white schools.

  • babbleon Oct 12, 2010

    I completely agree with you, superman

  • superman Oct 12, 2010

    I have said from the beginning of all this mess that the board had no idea as to what funding the schools had, where it was coming from and just how it could be used as well as to how the neighborhood schools would be affected with federal funding. Parents who prefer their children not to ride buses surely have a brand new SUV in their driveway. No matter what they do-- there will be children that will be bused. There are not 3 schools in every neighborhood. The board threw 3 million away a couple months ago when they decided to change the location of the new high school. They have no "clue" as to how to handle the complex school budget. Money goes to the school from many sources and it has to be used according to the grant. Moving money around the school budget often requires prior approval of the County Commissions. Grant funds and federal funding must be spent as outlined in their budget. Neighborhood schools can affect a lot of funding.

  • ALS Oct 12, 2010

    "Tedesco's zones" are the first step to the community-based schools. You cannot move to it without zones unless you have your community k-12. The plan Tedesco proposed is far from perfect and never has been claimed as final. At this moment it is a work-in-progress document and this is exactly where Golman's help is needed and this is where she refused to help. If she really wants neighborhood schools she has to understand it. Otherwise it will never come. This plan any way will come to the BOE approval where (if not done before) adjustments can be made based on members and parents. But only if someone works on it. Now - because of her - nobody works on it, so - no neighborhood schools for whole Wake County, including district 9. Halted work never gives you a product. Any product.

  • mrbigt032j Oct 12, 2010


  • Not_So_Dumb Oct 12, 2010

    "No we ALL get to pay for this failed experiment in attempted re-segregation of our once excellent school system."-geosol

    We may have had an excellent 'system' but not excellent education.

  • geosol Oct 12, 2010

    Sorry that it has taken so long for people to finally realize the the little right wing activists on the new board had absolutely no clue as to what they were doing and were only doing what their big money, far right benefactors paid for them to do. No we ALL get to pay for this failed experiment in attempted re-segregation of our once excellent school system. Can't wait to get the bills for this one.