Wake County Schools

Tata shares details on proposed assignment plans

Posted May 13, 2011 10:38 a.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2011 7:10 p.m. EDT

— Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata provided more details on Friday about two proposed student assignment plans.

Tata said the Community-Based Choice plan, also known as the “blue plan,” includes elements of the plan proposed by consultant Michael Alves. He was hired by the Wake Education Partnership and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce to provide an alternative to a neighborhood school plan proposed by some school board members.

The Alves plan would allow parents to choose between 10 elementary, five middle and five high schools, based on proximity.

Tata said the blue plan is centered on stability, choice, proximity and student achievement. 

"If the proposal they're considering is consistent with those principals then we are pleased to see it move forward," said Tim Simmons, with the Wake Education Partnership, a group of business leaders working to better public education.

The second proposal is the Balanced Base plan, or “green plan.” Tata said it would be a shift away from the current student assignment policy and would likely focus more on student achievement than socioeconomic diversity.

Board member John Tedesco argues the Balance-Base plan is too much like what he and others are trying to push away from, but said he fully supports the choice option.

"It gives us more opportunity as a community to empower families, meet their individual needs and it also gives us more opportunity for long-term stability," he said. 

Board member Keith Sutton said both plans looked good. "Something I think everybody can live with," he said. 

Tata said his student assignment task force focused primarily on issues of proximity and student achievement in creating the plans.

“Parents, A: want to stay where there are for the most part and B: want that stability, so how do we build that into the plans? And I think the logic will hang together on these two plans,” Tata said.

Tata said the task force is still discussing things like what would happen with the more than 11,000 magnet school students under the plans.

The public will get its first chance to see and comment on the plans on May 23. In addition to the two proposed plans, the public will also be able to view the seven other plans the team considered.

Tata will take feedback from the public before making a recommendation to the school board.

The team began working on the plans in March and based them on research from 22 school districts across the country using 18 criteria.

The issue of student assignment in Wake County schools has polarized the community since a revision last year to the district's longstanding policy of busing students to help achieve socio-economic diversity.

Effective with the 2012-13 school year, the change affects the way the school system places students in schools by focusing on proximity to where they live, instead of shifting students around so that no school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.