Wake County Schools

How board wants to work dominates Wake school action

Posted November 9, 2010

Wake County Public School System
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— How to move ahead, more than where to take the state's largest school system, dominated the Wake County Board of Education's efforts Tuesday.

The board decided to restore four standing committees it had abolished in an August vote, but it also decided they do not need to have regular meeting schedules.

The board almost decided to go back to having two voting meetings a month, also abandoned in August, but then decided not to decide until next year.

And, the board was unable to agree on a proposal from member Kevin Hill to have a meeting with the sole purpose of trying to reach consensus on the board's values so it can get on with its marquee challenge – implementing a student assignment system – and face what promises to be a tough time crafting a 2011-12 budget with shrinking resources.

Wake board talks student assignment Wake board talks student assignment

A year ago, voters installed four conservative board members who ran on a platform of getting rid of a diversity-based assignment system and replacing it with one that stressed community-based assignment. A board committee had been working on that, but the process stalled when member Debra Goldman began to have doubts about the speed of the process and some aspects of a draft system and joined plan opponents in a 5-4 vote to hit the brakes.

The 143,000-student system also is looking for a superintendent after its previous chief executive resigned in protest over the assignment votes.

Tuesday, Hill stressed that the board has never defined what it means in saying that parents in different parts of the county should have "equity" in school choices or in emphasizing "proximity" to schools.

"We need to parse this thing out" in "a rubber room for eight hours" before anyone can devise a system that will get more than a 5-4 vote, Hill said during an afternoon work session called the Committee of the Whole.

In other action during its evening voting meeting, the board opted to switch the district's hundreds of cell phones from Sprint to Verizon, a move that staff told them would shave about $400,000 from an annual bill of almost $900,000 and get better coverage.

The board also voted that a new high school on Quarry Road will be called Rolesville High School. The name was never controversial. What had caused a flap was when one of the first decisions by the new board was to scrap planning already under way for land the system had bought to put the school on Forestville Road.

During the work session, Chairman Ron Margiotta, who had been the lone conservative voice on the board before November 2009, told the group that he thought they should begin to consider bringing back the committees, beginning with the Finance Committee that will have to take on the  budget.

It was Margiotta who had proposed abolishing the committees and having board work sessions take on issues that used to first go to committees.

The board had killed a policy that established its committees, so bringing them back to life requires a new policy, which means the board will have to vote again for that at another formal meeting, likely in December.

The board's next meeting is a work session slated for 1 p.m. next Tuesday.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 10, 2010

    "Margiotta says in the film (with a smirk on his face) "why should student assignment have anything to do with student achievement?" Well Ron, why do we have higher crime rates in poor neighborhoods? Why do we have higher rates of single parents in poor neighborhoods? Why do we have higher drop out rates in poor neighborhoods? Really, Ron. - luvbailey"

    With dropout rates increasing every year under the current system, what makes you think that busing kids from the poor areas to the suburbs is going to help school achievement.

    Seeing that socio-economic (raced) based busing hasn't improved things for the last 10 years, lets' give neighborhood schools a try.

    Neighborhood schools can't make things worse.

  • luvbailey Nov 10, 2010

    Apparently the screener did not like something in my earlier post so i will try again.

    Margiotta says in the film (with a smirk on his face) "why should student assignment have anything to do with student achievement?" Well Ron, why do we have higher crime rates in poor neighborhoods? Why do we have higher rates of single parents in poor neighborhoods? Why do we have higher drop out rates in poor neighborhoods? Really, Ron.

  • luvbailey Nov 10, 2010

    Tedesco says in the film clip that student assignment is only about the transportation system (implying that is has nothing to do with student achievement). Really? But for over a year Tedesco said that diversity "hid" underperfoming students in high performing schools so we must abandon diversity in order to focus on underperforming students. And now it is just about transportation?? Really John????

  • rand321 Nov 10, 2010

    I think the board majority is hoping to push off some of the decisions on assignment until after the budget deficits become clearer the first of the year.

    The "choice" factor will be cast to the wayside as the board has to scramble to deal with less money and more students. Get ready for Mandatory Year Round for ALL to become the norm.

  • mindspeaker Nov 10, 2010

    I'm so glad my kids will be finished with the WCPSS in another year. I'd hate to be the parents of grade schoolers and have to deal with this for another 10 years. This school system was a mess before the current board members came on, and it's still a mess.

    SAS had the right idea when they built a private school in Cary for their employees. I bet all those empty offices over at GSK in RTP could house a lot of students right now.

  • superman Nov 10, 2010

    It seems that the board cant make a decision without going back and changing it. They are acting like 12 year old school children. Good luck with a new supt. cause that person will certainly have to be able to go with the flow -- no matter what direction it goes. Their decisions are more likely to chance than the weather.

  • Humungous Nov 10, 2010

    Anyone with the skills to flip a coin has a better chance of proposing an educated solution than this bunch of mover and shaker wanna beez.