Wake school officials aware of year-round survey flaw

Posted January 13, 2010 7:17 a.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2010 7:20 a.m. EST

— Wake County Public School System officials said they are aware that there is a major flaw with their online survey, which asks parents whether they prefer traditional or year-round schools.

Parents must enter their child's ID number to take the survey, but there is nothing stopping them from re-entering the number and taking the survey again multiple times. Survey-takers can also enter any number combination and easily get into the system.

Wake schools spokesman Michael Evans said they rushed to get the survey out, despite the problems, at the school board's request.

To get the most accurate results, the school system will make sure the ID numbers are valid. They will throw out any responses that have been sent in multiple times, Evans said.

Board member Debra Goldman said she had her concerns about the system, but feels the surveys will still be useful once duplicates are filtered out.

The Wake County Board of Education sent letters Monday to parents of students in all grades, asking them to respond to the survey  to help the board make decisions about year-round schools and student assignment. (Read the survey questions.)

Parents have until Jan. 25 to respond, and Wake County residents who do not have students enrolled in the school system can also leave comments until that time on the school system's Web site.

So far, more than 2,700 responses have been received, Evans said.

On Tuesday, the school board also announced four community meetings scheduled for next month on the matter.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Holly Springs High School, 5329 Cass Holt Road, Holly Springs
  • Thursday, Feb. 18 at Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Road, Wake Forest
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Leesville Road High School, 8409 Leesville Road, Raleigh
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 at Panther Creek High School, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary

Each meeting runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the schools' auditoriums.

The Board of Education voted 5-4 last week to end mandatory assignment to year-round schools beginning with the 2010-2011 school year and to allow parents to choose whether their child attends a school with a year-round or traditional calendar.

Two years ago, the district converted 22 elementary and middle schools to year-round schedules.

At the time, administrators defended the controversial moves by saying it would help the district keep up with enrollment growth and save money on school construction since year-round schools can accommodate more students than traditional-calendar schools.

Opponents argue that year-round schools have not eased overcrowding and that they create a hardship for families.