Wake County Schools

Newly elected board members to be briefed on Wake assignment plan

Posted October 21, 2011 12:04 p.m. EDT

— Wake County's three newly elected school board members are expected to get an update Friday afternoon on the district's new assignment plan that was adopted this week.

"We're providing them a professional presentation with lots of hard-copy documents so that they can have it at their disposal so they can prepare for their board tenure," Superintendent Tony Tata told reporters Friday morning.

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The three board members-elect – Susan Evans, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin – have each said that they have unanswered questions about the three-year plan, which goes into effect beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

Tata has said it gives parents more input about where their children are assigned and also takes into account proximity, stability and student achievement when placing children in schools.

But some of the new members are concerned about whether students at low-performing schools would be guaranteed a seat at a higher-achieving school if the students wanted to switch schools.

Some current school board members have said they are worried that the assignment plan and other accomplishments over the past two years could be in jeopardy come December when the new members take office.

Five seats, including three incumbents', were up for grabs in last week's municipal elections.

Democratic-backed candidates won four of the races, including Evans, who defeated current board Chairman Ron Margiotta. He led the Republican-backed majority that overturned a longstanding policy of busing students for socio-economic diversity purposes.

The fifth race, for District 3, between Democratic incumbent Kevin Hill and Republican Heather Losurdo, will be settled in a runoff Nov. 8. Hill received 49.69 percent of the votes, coming up 51 votes short of securing a win.

Hill voted against the plan, saying that although he thinks it is good, it doesn't guarantee students at low-performing schools spots in high-performing schools.

Losurdo has said she supports the plan.

Board member Keith Sutton, who was re-elected, also voted against the plan.