Wake County Schools

Wake school board disagrees on goals for 2011-12 student assignment

Posted December 14, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— Sixty-five student reassignments, proposed last month, brought the Wake County Board of Education to another 5-4 vote Tuesday as opponents again kept them out of a plan for changes for the 2011-12 school year.

The rejected proposals had come came mostly from citizen members of the Student Advisory Committee and parents at a series of community workshops. They have been championed by a board faction that is pushing to implement the 143,000-student system's new community-based assignment policy as quickly as possible.

Opponents argued during work sessions last week and Tuesday that the board should only look at changes needed to fill a new elementary school and relieve some overcrowding in the third year of a three-year student assignment plan that was supposed to minimize transfers.

Plaguing the board's discussions is the domino effect of crowding that could result from any moves from one school to another. Staff several times urged the board not to consider some proposed changes without first having a comprehensive plan for the district.

"We just keep putting off what's necessary," Chairman Ron Margiotta said in some frustration as hours of discussion neared an end.

Wake school board remains divided Wake school board remains divided

The district used to use socioeconomic diversity as an assignment criterion, but dropped that earlier this year.

The session, which began at 4 p.m. in the board conference room at school district headquarters, was open to the public. It was not an official public meeting, and no binding votes were cast.

The board spent the bulk of the meeting discussing which node assignments to present to parents next month for public feedback. The board holds public hearings before voting on a package of reassignments each year.

Margiotta said that Tuesday's maneuverings are part of a required annual review and are separate from the board's longer-term goal to redo how students are assigned to schools across the county.

"It's unreasonable and irresponsible to ignore" parents' transfer requests, Margiotta said in asking for the 65 assignment requests to be included in discussions. "We have not followed through" on promises to change the assignment goal to have children attend schools near their homes, he said.

Margiotta often forms a majority on the board with four members elected in 2009 on a platform of community-based assignment and stability so students are not moved as often as has happened in the past.

Two members of the board wanted to take a larger view. 

"We need to comply with Policy 6200," board member Debra Goldman said, "but we also need to be working as a board to craft an assignment plan."

Goldman was the deciding vote in changing the school system policy to focus student assignment on geography rather than economic diversity, but she joined opponents in October to stop a new assignment map being devised by member John Tedesco.

"Families want to bring their kids home," said Tedesco, chairman of committee tasked with figuring out student assignment. "I think we give parents the opportunity to do that this year."

Public hearings on assignments for 2011-12 are scheduled for Jan 10, 11, 13, 19 and 20. Parents of students in nodes in question will be notified of times and places for the hearings.

Tuesday evening, the board got through 17 of 23 reassignments that had been discussed last year but were not acted upon. It will meet at noon Jan. 4 to try to finish that list and to look at 11 more that the Growth Management staff said need more direction from the board on what should happen.

The transfers discussed Tuesday ranged in size from 10 students at Reedy Creek Middle School to 203 at Panther Creek High School.

Another 49 transfers are on a list that the staff has brought to the board already this year.

The board will meet in work sessions Jan. 25 and 27 and hopes to have a comprehensive plan for next school year approved in February.


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  • alanon Dec 15, 2010

    Exactly what families is Tedesco referring to as he says,

    "Families want to bring their kids home" Um not so sure about that

  • c2sides Dec 15, 2010

    And it was the NC. Supreme Court

    Not the US

  • c2sides Dec 15, 2010


    Got any links to all this? Because I also have opinions to counter each of your points....they have been excessively bandied. The gas point is incorrect, along with proximity....our schools are too big for neighborhood anything and we could linger, but I won't.

    Get at large seats! Re define NON partisan and ethics on this board. Remember minorities are white people too, ALL parties should be moving towards what is best for ALL KIDS. ALL. of them

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 15, 2010

    Their is no study or statistics supporting the current failed socio-economic diversity (race) based busing program.

    It's an insult to african americans to tell them that their children can only learn if they are sitting in a room full of white children in the suburbs.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 15, 2010

    Seeing that the current failed policy of Socio-Economic diversity (race) based busing is failing minorities based on the high dropout rates of minorities, it's time to make changes.

    The purpose of the current failed policy is to spread out poor performing kids so that no school is failing.

    Instead lets end the expensive busing and put the kids in the school closest to their home. Then let's use the money saved on diesel fuel, buses, bus maintenance, and drivers to hire specialists to work with poor performing kids to help them improve.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 15, 2010

    Seeing that the United States Supreme Court ruled that you can't bus based solely on race in the case against Charlotte / Mecklinburg.

    My bet is that if Wake County gets taken to court over the failed policy of Socio-Economic Diversity (race) based busing the courts will rule the policy is illegal.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 15, 2010

    "for the few that talk about the will of the voters, 1) only a small portion of voters was allowed to vote this "majority" in, make it open to all wake county voters and then see what happens! 2) wonder if you "will of the voters" disagree with the party of No in DC holding up our will in 2010. I bet not. -

    Our method of one representative per school board district causes this mess.

    It was put in place by the previous failure of a school board to keep those that supported the failed policy of socio-economic diversity (race) based busing in the majority and in control.

    The previous failure of a school board pushed it's failed policies of socio-economic (race) based busing using a similar majority of 5-4 without allowing representation to the minority.

    It's just now that those who supported the previous failure of a school board are in the minority, they are now saying that the voting plan that they put in place to stay in the majority and in control is unfair.

  • YourMom Dec 15, 2010

    Enough of this doomsday rhetoric ("These guys are working hard to make the education system here worst rather than better" melanie3; "The Wake County school board republican majority, is doing all it can to bring down public education" blackdog). It is in nobody's best interest to harm the public school system. This is just a disagreement in how it should be run. I think if people were more open to change, gathered reliable information from both sides of the debate, lost their race-related inhibitions (whites, blacks & everything in between) and thought before they acted/spoke we could all get through this rather peacefully.

  • c2sides Dec 15, 2010

    These guys.... Specifically Margiotta and Tedesco... Are helping private education magnates reap the big bucks...

    Private schools in the area are loving these guys and the fear, anger, and spreading animosity for public education. I believe people will indeed see Melanies point about devaluing our community and property values and show these bi- partisan board members the door. Too bad we will be paying and paying and paying for the fallout.

  • melanie3 Dec 15, 2010

    for the few that talk about the will of the voters, 1) only a small portion of voters was allowed to vote this "majority" in, make it open to all wake county voters and then see what happens! 2) wonder if you "will of the voters" disagree with the party of No in DC holding up our will in 2010. I bet not.