Wake Student Assignment Committee makes small changes to multi-year plan

Posted March 18, 2010 8:23 p.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2010 3:56 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The Student Assignment Committee of the Wake County Board of Education held its first meeting Thursday, focusing on adjustments to multi-year assignment plans in several communities.

The committee, made up of board members and citizens, reviewed items suggested by parents during public forums and through an online questionnaire.

"It hasn't been terribly hard because they are reasonable requests," board member Carolyn Morrison said.

Board member John Tedesco said the committee's decisions mostly keep existing year-round schools and magnet schools as they are.

The committee approved seven changes from the more than 20 considered, many of which came from parents who want their children to go to schools closer to home, board member Debra Goldman said.

Wake County student assignment committee’s recommended changes

The changes would take effect in the 2010-2011 school year, the second year of the current three-year student assignment plan. They still must be approved by the entire board.

Goldman and other members of the board's majority – a faction in favor of changing the district's student assignment policy – said Thursday's decisions are the first small moves toward assigning students to schools within "community zones."

The current policy assigns students to schools to achieve socio-economic diversity by  ensuring that no school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch. It has come under fire for separating students and parents physically from their schools and imposing long bus rides and repeated reassignments on some. 

The idea of changing the policy sparked outrage from proponents of the current system, including the state chapter of the NAACP, who threatened to sue, likening the plan to school policies in Wayne and Mecklenburg counties, where it claims segregation does exist.

Over the next nine to 15 months, board members will work on changes to the entire assignment policy.