Wake County Schools

Some pleased, some frustrated with school choice results

Posted March 16, 2012 3:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2012 10:26 p.m. EDT

— After two months of waiting, the parents of more than more than 19,000 Wake County public school students got word Friday afternoon where their children will go to school in the fall.

The Wake County Public School System posted results of the first round of the district's student assignment plan's choice selection process online, and letters went out in the mail to notify parents of their children's assignments. School system staff were also available by phone.

Nearly 75 percent of parents who took part in the first phase – from Jan. 17 until Feb. 24 – received their first choice. 

Tina Sherman, whose son is in kindergarten, got her third choice – Laurel Park Elementary School – and she said she was happy with that assignment. "We would like to get him started off in the right place," she said.

Michelle Evans' kindergartner was one of those left out. She did not get into any of her top four choices. "We fell through the cracks," she said. "It is very upsetting to me."

Superintendent Tony Tata told reporters in his weekly news briefing that more parents could receive their first choice after the district places 723 students who are currently on waiting lists for magnet schools.

"The first-round selection rates will only go up, from what we announced," Tata said. "It's a small number, but every family is important, and we are focused on absolute accuracy and transparency."

A second choice selection round is scheduled from March 19 through April 9 for any parents unhappy with the assignment they received as well as parents who didn't participate in the first round. Assignments based on those choices will be made by mid-April.

Tata said the district is also waiting on final numbers for two new elementary schools – Richland Creek and Abbots Creek – to determine whether there are enough students to open them.

He said no school will be overcapacity in the choice plan because the district maintained caps set by schools.

Under the new assignment model, parents rank a list of schools based on their home address. Once a student is assigned to a school, he or she is guaranteed a seat in that school's feeder pattern as long as he or she is enrolled in the school system.

Parents of students who are new or returning to the school system, rising kindergartners and parents who want their children to switch schools must go through the selection process.