Wake County Schools

Wake parents sound off on reassignment proposal at Sanderson

Posted November 28, 2012 8:27 a.m. EST
Updated November 29, 2012 1:50 a.m. EST

— The Wake County Board of Education heard from about 20 parents Wednesday night on a plan to reassign about 1,500 students for the 2013-14 school year.

The proposed plan combines elements of the current "controlled-choice plan," in which parents have more input into where their children go to school, and a neighborhood model that links each Wake County address with a base elementary, middle and high school.

The majority of parents complained about assignments far from home, which is what board members anticipated.

"It is irresponsible to assign kids miles away," said parent Michael Gallagher.

Board member Susan Evans said the plan offers less upheaval than in years past and that the board will offer help to families impacted by reassignment.

"Most of the comments are what we expected," Evans said. "We will try to do what is logical."

Near the end of the meeting, board member Deborah Prickett asked parents to raise hands if they are satisfied with the current plan. Prickett voted against a June directive to staff to change the three-year plan, which is less than a year old, in an effort to improve upon it.

"We promised the public we would stay with the choice plan for three years," Prickett said.

Evans said Pickett's question was "not appropriate" and took the microphone from her.

The meeting, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Sanderson High School, 5500 Dixon Drive in Raleigh, was the first of three over the next two weeks.

Meetings are also scheduled for the same time at Davis Drive Middle School, 2101 Davis Drive, Cary, on Dec. 3 and at Rolesville Middle School, 4700 Burlington Mills Road, Rolesville, on Dec. 5.

The reassignment plan affects less than 1 percent of the Wake County student population, and most of its focus is on filling three new schools in the Rolesville and Wake Forest areas.

About three dozen schools face enrollment caps, which could force children to schools further away from home. A grandfather provision in the proposal could further reduce the number of reassignments.

Parents who want to speak at the meetings must register in advance on the school system's website or in person an hour before the hearing.

Public comment is also being accepted online.

The school board is expected to vote on the 2013-14 assignment plan on Dec. 11.

It will only be used until a permanent plan is created for the 2014-15 school year.