N.C. Democrats speak out against Wake community schools

Posted April 2, 2010 9:35 a.m. EDT

— Millions of dollars in federal aid could be sucked out of Wake County schools if the board of education moves ahead with its plan to change its diversity policy, North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman David Young said Thursday.

The party is launching a volunteer pledge bank to get the word out against community-based system of student assignment.

The Board of Education voted on March 23 to work toward the new system. Board members said it could take up to 15 months to work out the details of the plan.

The decade-old assignment method currently in place buses students across the district to help achieve socio-economic diversity, allowing no school more than 40 percent of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunches.

The debate over student assignment has heightened racial tensions between the board and the NAACP, which has accused the board of trying to re-segregate schools.

Wake County schools Superintendent Del Burns announced in February that he will resign, effective June 30. The decision came after comments in which he accused some board members of "political partisan gamesmanship" when it comes to educating students.

The Wake County Republican Party last fall donated to the campaigns of four new board members who ran on a platform that included ending the district's diversity policy of busing students in favor of community-based schools.

Young also encouraged people to attend one of two community forums sponsored by Great Schools in Wake Coalition on April 15 at the W.E.B. Dubois Community Center, 150-A White St. in Wake Forest, and April 22 at the Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. Both events start at 7 p.m.