Education

School board works through student calendar requests

Posted March 31, 2010 3:33 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2010 3:55 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County Board of Education took up the issue of student assignment again Wednesday night during a work session.

In a meeting that stretched late into the evening, the board heard from school district staff about the enrollment levels of certain schools, and the level of desire of students to transfer into and out of individual schools.

The board has said they would work to assign students to their preferred school and calendar but capacity issues may prevent that from happening.

More than 2,800 families may not get into the year-round school they wanted; more than 1,700 families may not get their first-choice, traditional-calendar school.

The greatest part of the meeting was a discussion of individual schools, calendars and how to allot students.

The board touched only briefly on the controversial plan to change students to a neighborhood schools model. They voted last week to change how Wake County has apportioned students for the past decade – assuring that no one school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch.

The majority of the board is committed to changing that policy so that students attend school closer to home, not matter their socio-economic status. Critics and those in the minority on the board say that change will have the effect of segregating schools along racial lines.

If that happens, the district could lose out on $8 million in funding from the Magnet School Assistance Program. Southeast Raleigh and Garner high schools and East Garner Middle School were beneficiaries of the grant between 2007 and 2010. Brentwood and Smith elementary schools and Millborok High are working on grant applications for 2010-2013.

To get the grant, the school system must prove they will prevent minority group isolation. As part of the application process, the board must produce a resolution promising not to segregate.

A discussion of the budget for the 2010-11 school year was also on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, but the board never got to it in more than six hours.