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Cary leaders want to talk reassignment with Wake school board

Posted May 9, 2008

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— Cary town councilors say they are willing to use varied methods to communicate about school assignment with the Wake County Board of Education – including hiring an outside consultant or appealing to state legislators.

"It's our job to represent, and we've heard from hundreds of Cary families who are very frustrated and concerned," Councilman Don Frantz said.

The latest round of school reassignments prompted protests from parents and three Wake County mayors, who said it worked against neighborhood schools.

School administrators said students were moved to relieve overcrowding, fill new schools and achieve economic diversity.

In February, the town council voted to host a roundtable for school board members and Wake municipal officials to discuss school assignment policies.

That meeting has not happened, and some school board members said they were not interested in the proposal.

"Just to go to a meeting and sit around and hear complaints and not be able to respond to them adequately is not beneficial to us or to them," Rosa Gill, school board chairwoman, said.

Officials from both sides, though, agreed that a meeting about school construction produced an open dialog.

"I think a lot of things were discussed, and we responded to those the best we could," Gill said.

Frantz, though, said town council members would consider other options if the dialog does not continue and no change occurs.

"If at the end of the day, we don't feel like we're getting anywhere, then we might look at hiring an outside consultant to see what ideas or input they might be able to bring to the table," he said.

The independent consultant would analyze the school assignment process and make unbiased recommendations for improvement, Frantz said. It could study the feasibility of breaking up the countywide school system into smaller districts, he added.

"I would like to see what would be involved in breaking the school district up into two or four districts," Frantz said.

Partnering with other Wake municipalities to hire the consultant would clear up any legal issues, Frantz said. He did not have an estimate of how much such a review might cost.

School board members said they already have processes in place to listen to the community – including asking the town council to create a list of parents' concerns.

"We do listen to what parents are saying," Gill said. "We hope they are open to why we can't do everything they're suggesting."

Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said he thinks outside influences, such as state lawmakers, might be the best bet for school reform.

"I think the school board's very set on what they're going to do and how they're going to manage growth problems we're experiencing," Weinbrecht said. "And I don't think there's much we can do to change that."

Weinbrecht said he and other mayors could lobby for school board elections to be made countywide and for the school board to get the authority to levy taxes for school construction.

"We're going to try to work with other municipalities and come up with common ground that we can use to present to the Legislature," Weinbrecht said.

"This is not a Cary issue. It's a regional issue," the mayor continued. "It's our responsibility to step up and interface with people in the region that make decisions, whether it's school board members or the legislators."

11 Comments

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  • SomeRandomGuy May 12, 2008

    I think the school board has bit off more than it can chew this time. Usually when Cary wants something, they get it. I still remember the state wanting to change Cary to a "city" designation and Cary saying NO. Town of Cary it is.

  • cartman May 12, 2008

    I think Cary should form it's own school district. The town is big enough and has enough children to support itself. This would be in the best interest of Cary residents.

  • RonnieR May 12, 2008

    If Cary wants the BoE's attention, all they have to do is follow Garner's lead. No permits for new school construction and no certificates of occupany for scvhools that are already being built. Kinda like hitting them up side of the head with a 2x4.

  • carolinakhaki May 12, 2008

    "You couldn't have written a better desciption of the town of Cary. Most everybody over there has their nose so far up in the air it's a wonder they don't drown when it rains. Cary thinks they are so special, and above everybody else, that they don't have to follow the rules and should get exactly what they want whenever, and no matter how often, they ask for it. Maybe you should withdraw and become the 101st county in NC. Dawn Graff can head your school system, since she seems to think she has all the answers. Nobody made you move to this area."

    Wow...I had no idea that I, as a Cary resident, was such a blight on society. Thanks for enlightening me. Do you really think that stereotypical vitrol such as yours does anything other than make you seem bitter and jealous? If you want change in your area, or anyone else's, it comes from positive action on YOUR part - not from bashing someone else.

  • likemenow May 12, 2008

    Will Cary secede from Wake county or just take over the outlying municipalities so they are bigger than Wake County?...apparently their kids are more important than the other towns around here....rulings just don't seem to apply to them

  • Deb1003 May 12, 2008

    I moved to Wake County 10 yrs ago after extensive research of the school system. We have a disabled daughter that, I felt, deserved the best curriculum available in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. We decided on Wake County w/ their early intervention program and excellent public schools. I also read, 10 years ago!, that the area often reassigned students due to the growth in the county. I felt the rewards of a good school system was more important. I wasn't disappointed. My disabled daughter went to great schools w/ exceptional teachers. My son was reassigned to another school, I hated the idea and fought the reassignment. Howevever, it turned out to be a better school w/ an exceptional teaching staff and parent involvement exceeded his original school. Sometimes, things do work out for the best.

  • hkypky May 12, 2008

    gopack54: "...Nobody made you move to this area. If you don't like what is offered and just can't stand to be on the same level with everybody else, no one is making you stay."

    Have you or others who play the "if you don't like it, move" card every time there is a discussion on Year Round schools, really thought about what you are suggesting?

    Have you ever thought that there are people who moved to this area, not just Cary, who did so in part because of what WCPSS used to be and when there was no Year Round school program?

    Do you realize that Year Round, just like Traditional, may not be in the best interest of everyone? and the threat of resassignment each and every year begins to take a toll?

    I invite you and everyone else who expect families to pick up their life and relocate every time government, education, etc. do something you don't feel is in your best interest. Feel free to BLOG how that's going for you right here on the WRAL site. I'll be reading.

  • gopack54 May 9, 2008

    "Those that are on the board apparently think that they are gods, and can do exactly as they wish....oh they have."
    Common Sense Plz, You couldn't have written a better desciption of the town of Cary. Most everybody over there has their nose so far up in the air it's a wonder they don't drown when it rains. Cary thinks they are so special, and above everybody else, that they don't have to follow the rules and should get exactly what they want whenever, and no matter how often, they ask for it. Maybe you should withdraw and become the 101st county in NC. Dawn Graff can head your school system, since she seems to think she has all the answers. Nobody made you move to this area. If you don't like what is offered and just can't stand to be on the same level with everybody else, no one is making you stay.

  • Harrison Bergeron May 9, 2008

    Ahh, I guess the parents in Cary don't want to sacrifice their children at the Altar of Diversity.

  • NE Raleigh May 9, 2008

    It's only a matter of time before all the municipalites of Wake County will eventually opt out of the school system leaving the City of Raleigh on it's own. Then the sytem will be like New York City, mostly made up of the poor and minorities with FRL at approximately 80%. The dictatorship must be overthrown!

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