Local News

Wake School Board Gets Lecture From Parents About Reassignment

Posted April 5, 2002

— Wake County's school reassignment plan has upset another group of parents who gave the school board a major lecture Tuesday night.

The parents are upset that they cannot get out their children out of a reassignment to Dillard Drive Elementary when the school board let their Apex neighbors stay put. Another parent took the board to task for backing away from the diversity that the school desperately needs.

Dillard Drive Elementary has a free- and reduced-lunch population, an indicator of poverty, that exceeds 30 percent. The board said that is too much. To address the challenge, the school board reassigned affluent students from Baucom Elementary in Apex.

Those parents said, "No fair!" Patience Stevens addressed the school board directly Tuesday night.

"To achieve the equality of diversity by sacrificing equality of reassignment principles is to lay your diversity foundation in sand," she said.

Stevens said the board is inconsistent in its decisions. She helped Apex Elementary parents protest a move of their kids.

The school system moved Baucom students to Dillard for similar reasons.

Apex kids get to stay put, while Stevens' kids have to move.

"There is just something that doesn't inherently make sense about that," she said.

The school board heard a different lecture from parent Becky Brady.

"When you make a decision like the Apex decision, you have sent a message, and that message is that a vocal, powerful group has the ability to overturn a well-thought-out plan," she said.

Brady said that she loves Dillard Drive Elementary, but knows the school needs help to meet all of the kids needs -- even if those kids' parents do not complain loudly.

She said she was disappointed when the board gave approval to neighborhood schools for some Apex parents.

"Neighborhood schools are segregated schools and we have come too far to go back to that. We do not need neighborhood schools. We need balanced schools," Brady said.

Brady said that the school board caves in to pressure. Stevens wants them to vote her way.

Both parents agree on one thing: from their perspectives, the school board is not doing its job.

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