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Parents make last push against school reassignment proposal

Posted December 8, 2008
Updated December 9, 2008

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— Wake County school administrators held their final public meeting Monday evening on the system's plan to reassign more than 26,000 students over the next three years.

The meeting, at Broughton High School, 723 St. Mary's St., was packed with nearly 1,000 parents voicing their concerns before the final draft of the reassignment plan is sent to the Board of Education.

The Percy family was the first to speak at the podium. High school students in their neighborhood have been reassigned many times.

The area was assigned to "Cary High School, then got moved to Green Hope, (then) back to Cary High School, then got moved to Panther Creek High and now they want to move it back to Cary High School,” parent Steve Percy said.

The latest reassignment would make five changes in 11 years, and Ian and Micaela Percy said they hope that doesn't happen.

“It's a great toll, mainly on relationships. You have to make all new friends,” student Ian Percy said.

The reassignment proposal is the Wake County Public School System's effort to begin planning for population growth and student movement more than a year in advance. Administrators have said planning for three years would save money for schools and lessen aggravation for families.

The school system also says it needs to make room for low-income students who are often bused to schools to meet economic diversity goals the district has set for itself.

"We want fair and adequate resources, and distribution of those resources and programs, so that each child can be served where they are,” parent Debbie Mann said.

Changes have already been made to the draft based on parent feedback from what the schools term the community engagement meetings. School officials say they will make their final recommendation to the school board on Dec. 16.

There was a serious debate Monday evening about whether Broughton High will keep its magnet status.

"We love neighborhood schools, but it is awesome that Broughton is a combination of a neighborhood school with an international focus and an expectation of excellence that is for every student at the school,” Broughton High graduate Courtney Crumpler said.

Former and current students held signs and candles in protest outside of Monday's community meeting.

Some people say the magnet status is why the school is such a good place to learn. However, some school board members say the high school is so successful, it no longer meets the criteria to be a magnet school.

A rally is planned Tuesday at the school, and the school board is scheduled to vote on the status Wednesday.

About the reassignment plan

For 2009-2010, the first year of the reassignment plan, 8,162 students would be reassigned. Three new elementary schools will open in eastern and southern Wake County, so younger students would be moved in those areas.

Middle- and high-schoolers will also be moved in western Wake to relieve overcrowding, particularly in Cary.

The plan calls for the greatest number of students – 14,200 – to be reassigned in 2010-2011, when two high schools, two middle schools and one elementary school are scheduled open. Most students moved will be in northern, western and southern Wake that year.

In 2011-2012, 4,409 students would be reassigned as an elementary school and a middle school open in northern and southeastern Wake.

The Wake County Board of Education will determine which reassigned students are eligible for grandfathering, allowing them to stay at their current schools. In the past, students have been required to provide their own transportation to school if they stayed after their area was reassigned.

The second and third years of the draft assume that the 10 schools will open as planned. However, their construction is dependent on capital funding and enrollment growth.

Overall, the number of students reassigned is comparable to those moved in the past three one-year plans.

How the plan was formed

More than 100 parents and educators met and discussed reassignment options for over 5,000 total person-hours. School system officials said they kept in mind the concerns that emerged from those planning sessions.

Of paramount importance was keeping the same students together through elementary, middle and high school.

Officials said they also considered schools' socioeconomic balance, the distance students would be bussed and the state's magnet-school policy.

Next steps

Taking into account public feedback, WCPSS staff will make their recommendations to the county Board of Education by Dec. 16.

The school board will hold a new round of public meetings and finalize the plan by Feb. 3.

Mailings will then be sent out to the parents of affected students, who will know their final assignments by mid-May of next year.

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  • affirmativediversity Dec 9, 2008

    What I'd like to know is; why do the voters in Wake County/Raleigh continually re elect the same idiots to their school board?

    Every darn year for the past 5 or more years it is the same thing. People in Wake County screeming they don't want school reassignments and the school board saying we don't care what the people want.

    Until they start voting new people to their school board who will publicly commit to NO re assignments I don't want to hear it!!!!

  • BigUNCFan Dec 9, 2008

    Bussing is really the root of this "problem". Stop trying all of the social engineering experiments and just make sure that the education kids get at neighborhood schools is consistent from place to place. It can't be that hard. Do stuff like make assignments of high and middle and lightly experienced teachers in the same ratios at all of the schools and make sure that the costs per student at the schools in the disadvantaged neighborhood school is the same as the cost spent in the rich neighborhood.

    If teacher experience and cost per student are the same in each of the schools no matter where they are, then it should be the same, correct?????

    Then all you are left with is the diversity issue which I feel is a touchy feely thing. Kids are kids and as long as the kids are getting the same education either way, let them go to neighborhood schools and save the gas money.

  • bs101fly Dec 9, 2008

    "...kids being moved from time to time"

    HA!!!!

    It's EVERY SINGLE YEAR!
    It's against a judge's orders!!
    It's against the mass protests from parents!
    The same parents who are dropping their support of the system in mass, which hurts us all!
    It's YOUR tax dollars being wasted by the MILLIONS every single year to do so!

    Sounds like YOU are just simply clueless! I recommend you move, We need less voters like you in Wake County!

  • jsanders Dec 9, 2008

    "If you Wake County parents don't like - move."

    That's pretty much the attitude Wake County parents expect from the schools, which is one of the reasons why parent satisfaction with the school system is subpar:
    http://www.johnlocke.org/spotlights/display_story.html?id=207

  • LaLa-Land Dec 9, 2008

    It seems with the size of the school system, that relocating a certain number of students is reasonable and should be expected from tiem to time. If you Wake County parents don't like - move.

  • Hasbeen Dec 9, 2008

    Here here to breaking up the county into geographic districts. It is basically how 95% of the country operates. As for diversity/income level, frankly, from what I have seen, even the "lower performing" schools in this county are nowhere near what people would equate to truly failing schools you may see in larger urban areas. A decent education can be had anywhere in this county with the effort of the parents and children. Especially, if you can maybe get to your kids school because it is now closer or car-pool with neighbors. Can't exactly blame lack of parental involvment in their schools when your kid is sent 10 miles away to a completely "different" world...

  • bs101fly Dec 9, 2008

    "And WCPSS is in the top 10 in school system sizes in the country..."

    THAT is a BIG part of the problem! The system needs to, and soon will, be broken into smaller districts! AND, we can't vote on ALL 9 board reps like 80+% of the rest of our state and other parts of the country. Apparently Wake County voters are too dumb to be able to handle voting for all 9 school board members.

    And to those who think they bus kids to fill schools HAVE SOME COFFEE! The bus kids to balance F&R #'s and for diversity!

    H E L L O!!!!

    Still re-thinking your examples canes017. I can wait.

  • S82R Dec 9, 2008

    I love how we blame the school board for deciding where people live. Neighborhood schools is a pie in the sky approach people. We would have high schools with 3 and 4 thousand while other high schools had just a few hundred. Elementary schools in densely populated areas would have over 1000 students while in sparsely populated areas they would struggle to fill a class for each grade level. Yep, blame the school board for dealing with the problem a poor growth plan by the county and each town/city enacted.

    And WCPSS is in the top 10 in school system sizes in the country so it's not likely many of you have actually had students in bigger systems.

  • down by the pond Dec 9, 2008

    jaredg,, this is what i have said all along,,,

    We MOVED from Wake County in 2005, my kids go to neighborhood schools, are happy, the community is involved in the school,,, and i can still drive to Wake county to "work".... these wake county folks are wasting their time,,, and oh neighborhood schools makes sense that is why it is not being done,,,,too worried about diversity,,, i say let people choose where they live to determine where their kids go to school,,( why did we get away from that), then the school can say , move if you are not happy with the school that you chose to live close to,,,,, see how it turns it around....There is something wrong with a system that builds new schools because of "growth" and then says oh we can't fill them so we need to move kids across the county to fill it ,,to save face.
    so glad we are outta there,,,,,lauging stock of the nearby counties i might add,,,,,,,,

  • jaredg Dec 9, 2008

    there is a simple solution to keeping kids together through elementary, middle and high school. go back to neighborhood schools. kids will stay together as long as they live in the same neighborhood. the county saves money on fuel costs because busing requirements go down, kids can walk to school, parents are happy, kids are happy and everyone wins. i don't know what's so hard about this?

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