Wake County Schools

Wake will consider school transfers, but likely fewer than proposed

Posted December 7, 2010
Updated December 8, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County school board Tuesday tackled its most divisive issue – student assignment – and its own operations and came away with patchwork actions in both cases.

In a more clear-cut action, it decided that end-of-course and end-of-grade exams, which the state abandoned earlier this school year, will stay in effect for Wake students through 2010-11 in order to send a message to students that the rules for advancing from 3rd, 5th and 8th grades and graduati

During a work session, when members discuss issues but do not vote on them, the board argued over what proposed reassignments it wanted to consider for the 2011-12 school year.

During the evening, at its voting meeting, the board tried to re-establish standing committees it had wiped out in the fall, but could not get enough votes to have that take effect right away so the Finance Committee could hold a meeting already set for Wednesday afternoon.

In a legally confusing action, the board voted instead to have a group with the same chairman and members as the abolished Finance Committee start working on what promise to be hard decisions about how to cut next year's budget in the face of plummeting state funding.

On assignments, the 2011-12 year was once expected to bring relatively minor changes to the last year of a three-year plan that a previous board intended to stanch parent complaints about frequent reassignments in the rapidly growing district.

Last week, however, three citizen members of the board's Student Assignment Committee offered pages of moves they proposed as a way to begin implementing the district's community-based assignment policy, passed earlier this year.

Many of the moves would send students from schools where they are now back to their neighborhood schools in Southeast Raleigh, creating schools with high concentrations of low-income students.

For a decade,the district had a policy that stressed socioeconomic diversity across the 143,000-student system's 163 schools. One of its actions had been to move some Southeast Raleigh students out to higher-income areas.

All Southeast Raleigh schools were made magnet schools with special program offerings intended to draw in students from outlying areas voluntarily.

Tuesday, the staff presented 12 pages of proposed changes, including the ones that surfaced last week. Half of those were ones that listed committee members or "parents" as the proponents and did not say how they stacked up on a list of criteria the staff used in proposing its changes.

Discussion of how many of the changes to consider for next year got heated at times.

"We ought to call a spade a spade and put a face on the students we're talking about," said member Keith Sutton, who represents Southeast Raleigh and its large minority population. With the U.S. Department of Education beginning to investigate a complaint that the district is being re-segregated through the community-assignment policy, Sutton said, "Moving 6,000 African-American kids" in the face of the investigation "would be stupid."

In the end, the members told the staff to explore transfers to fill the new Walnut Creek Elementary School, ones for schools that are at 112 percent of their capacity or more and ones to make better use of schools that are at 75 percent of capacity or less.

The school board had intended to implement a totally new, community-based assignment policy for the 2012-13 school year, but that effort stalled in October. Since then, the policy's backers have been pushing to implement it within the existing assignment system that used hundreds of "nodes" or small areas to build each school's assignment area.

76 Comments

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  • raleigh1983 Dec 8, 4:50 p.m.

    Correction:

    I believe that the average voter didn't look beyond the unicorns and rainbows of the "Community Schools" campaign slogan. ...

  • raleigh1983 Dec 8, 4:44 p.m.

    Not_So_Dumb - I believe that if the average voter didn't look beyond the unicorns and rainbows of the "Community Schools" campaign slogan. Community Schools sounds nice, like back in the 50's - when we had segregation. The Wake County Commissioners vote was, I believe, tied to the coatstrings of the "get the Democrats out" mentality. All speculation, as you say. It's nice to have a dialogue on our opinions without getting all muddy. Thanks.

  • rand321 Dec 8, 4:30 p.m.

    We do not need any committees! Margiotta and Tedesco can meet with Art Pope and Bob Luddy and make the decisions themselves and tell the rest of the board what is going to happen.

  • seeingthru Dec 8, 4:18 p.m.

    so, the Rev wins.......

  • jscletsplay1002002 Dec 8, 4:09 p.m.

    sorry my last post I wrote board of elections, lol, you know what I meant,lol, Board of Education

    At least I can laugh at myself.

  • jscletsplay1002002 Dec 8, 4:04 p.m.

    Baltimore City School children are bussed by the MTA. They can go to whatever school has an opening/space, Parent's/child's choose, if there was space. Schools that have the better teachers,sports,buildings, etc... got the most applications.

    That took care of the city/county bussing.

    It gave each parent/child choice of having to be bussed for 1/2 hr/hour, or whatever it took. That was part of their decision making in which school they wanted to go to. It was knowing ahead of time. They couldnt complain.

    Why havent our Board of Elections looked at other models around the country.

  • Not_So_Dumb Dec 8, 3:35 p.m.

    Raleigh1983 - IMO, the results of the election are the most reliable statistics we have. The rest is just speculation.

    What part of this entire process, for the past ten years, hasn't been politics instead of education driven?

  • raleigh1983 Dec 8, 3:17 p.m.

    "Based on the election of the Board and the Commission, it would seem that being in favor of community schools would be representative of the county."-Not_So_Dumb

    That would seem logical but the school board majority was elected by the affluent parents who want community schools and by the Republican power in Wake County. If statistics were available we might discover that the parents of the children who will be negatively affected by the Community School Resegration plan now supported by the board majority probably did not even vote or at least did not understand the negative ramifications of a return to Community Schools. As for the Wake County Commissioners recent resolution, well that's just politics as opposed to a thoughful decision on what's best for the students and for Wake County.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Dec 8, 3:14 p.m.

    "If they aren't going to do all the transfers needed to accomplish community schools, how are they going to fulfill their campaign promises of establishing them???"

    Most parents will now be waiting until the 2012-2013. So for most of us we won't know where we're going to go starting that year and we probably won't know until the very last minute. A minute in which we will see most of the kids in this county moved to different schools. Unless you live within a mile of your school you can forget about stability. You don't get any.

  • Not_So_Dumb Dec 8, 2:29 p.m.

    "So it sounds like the Margiotta Mafia hand picked the "citizen" committee members in order to stack the deck in favor of community schools."-raleigh1983

    Based on the election of the Board and the Commission, it would seem that being in favor of community schools would be representative of the county.

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