Wake County Schools

Tata defends assignment plan, apologizes for computer glitch

Posted April 27, 2012 11:25 a.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2012 9:11 a.m. EDT

— Wake County public schools Superintendent Tony Tata on Friday said he's confident that most parents were satisfied with the results of the second and final round of the student assignment process, the results of which were announced Thursday afternoon. 

Tata also apologized for a computer glitch that caused the student assignment website to be taken down for about three hours Thursday night, saying he didn't want the student assignment process to be criticized because of a software interface problem.

"The implementation of the plan has satisfied most parents, and a computer glitch doesn't discount what has been a year of hard work," Tata said during his weekly update Friday. "This is hard business. We've got a great team working hard to implement this plan." 

Results of the final round of student assignments were available Thursday for parents who submitted an application in Choice-Selection Round Two on April 15, those who were still on a waiting list for their first choice and those who were still waiting for an assignment. 

Final assignment notification letters will be sent to all families by May 15, Tata said, before the school system opens a two-week window for people who want to appeal their school assignment or apply for a transfer. 

On Thursday, some parents expressed continued displeasure with how the student assignment plan has been executed. 

Josh Lippy wanted his 7-year-old to attend a year-round school near the family's home, but the assignment plan placed the child in a school about 5 miles away. 

"It's been a real nightmare for us in terms of getting what we want," Lippy said. 

Karen Meier recently moved her family to the Triangle from Michigan. They bought a home in Apex because it was near a good school, she said.

"We decided to locate here specifically for that reason," she said.

But, on Thursday, she learned that her child was not assigned to the school she wanted.

She told school board members at their Tuesday meeting that she regretted moving to the area.

"Had we been fully aware of the new choice school assignment program, I don't think we would have moved to Wake County," Meier said.

On Friday, Tata addressed the concern that the controversial assignment plan might keep new families from moving into Wake County, calling the assertion an "urban legend."  

"People can blame the school system if they want, but we're working as hard as we can," he said. "This is a community discussion; this isn't just a school system discussion. If we want to be able to handle the growth in Wake County, we've got to have some serious discussions about capacity, demand and where we're buying new land and building new schools."

Parents who have not yet logged in can still do so by using the same username and password they created to make their school choice online. Parents can also call 919-431-7333 for help or if they forgot that information.