Federal investigators to visit Wake schools representatives
Posted March 9, 2011
Updated March 10, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Federal investigators from the Office for Civil Rights are coming to Raleigh to follow up on a complaint filed by the state NAACP against the Wake County Public School System, spokesman Michael Evans said.
Meetings are scheduled next week with members of the school board's Student Assignment Committee and representatives of the U.S. Department of Education. Investigators will also speak with Superintendent Tony Tata and other staff members March 16 and 17.
They will return April 6 and 7 to meet with school board members, Evans said.
The state NAACP has expressed concerns that changing Wake County's student assignment policy to a neighborhood schools model will concentrate poor students into schools in poor communities.
A Department of Education spokesman described the process as neutral fact-finding that in no way implies the OCR believes the complain has merit. OCR's investigative process generally includes on-site meetings, interviews and gathering data, said Jim Bradshaw of the Department of Education press office.
Tata has temporarily reassigned six members of his staff to devote themselves entirely to implementing the school system’s new student assignment policy.
He said in a statement Monday that the team would spend 100 percent of its time working on the plan and considering input from his recent listening tour, as well as the Wake School Choice proposal from the Wake Education Partnership and Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and other proposals.