Wake County Schools

Wake school board votes to change student assignment plan

Posted June 19, 2012 11:22 p.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2012 6:34 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— After hours of heated debate Tuesday night, the Wake County school board voted just before 1 a.m. Wednesday to have school system staff revise the district's choice-based student assignment plan just eight months after it was approved.

According to the directive, approved 5-4 by the board, the revised plan would be created by evaluating the current and previous assignment plans in an effort to "integrate the best practices and strategies."

The new student assignment plan would move away from a choice-driven plan and return to an address-based plan with expanded magnet and theme-school choice.

Any changes to the plan would not go into effect until the 2013-2014 school year, at the earliest.

Board members said the revised plan should be focused on student achievement, stability and proximity and that each address should be assigned a school or schools within a "reasonable distance."

It's been one week since the district wrapped up student assignment for the 2012-13 school year, placing more than 151,000 students in 169 schools across the school system.

Parents on both sides of the issue spoke during the public comment portion of the school board meeting Tuesday evening to present the pros and cons of changes to the plan.

"Changing this plan, throwing it out, is not good for this community," said parent Jennifer Mansfield.

Board Chairman Kevin Hill said no one is trying to push through any quick, dramatic changes, but they simply want to put the conversation on the table.

"I think it would be irresponsible not to go back and try to look at what we can do improve this (current) plan," he said. "To what extent, I don't know. I mean, the superintendent, himself, has said repeatedly in the last month that we’re going to have to make some changes."

Board member John Tedesco said changing the assignment plan now would be a step in the wrong direction.

"To go back to the old business as usual with reassignment year in and year out down the pipe, that is the wrong way to do," he said.