Wake County Schools

Parents learn about Wake assignment plans

Posted May 31, 2011 6:10 a.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2011 10:32 p.m. EDT

— Parents on Tuesday attended the first of three scheduled public question-and-answer periods on two proposals for student assignment in the Wake County Public School System.

The Wake County Board of Education voted in 2010 to change the district's long-standing policy of assigning students based on socio-economic diversity, which opponents said resulted in long bus rides for some, in favor of a plan that would keep students closer to their homes.

Superintendent Tony Tata and a task force have been working on how to implement that change since his hire in January and released two draft plans last week. The so-called blue and green plans are aimed at maximizing student achievement while providing families with more stability and choice.

At Tuesday's meeting at Millbrook Magnet High School, two task force members walked parents through a website designed to gather feedback on the plans.

"I found it very helpful," said Kelly Johnson, who has three children in Wake County schools.

Under the so-called "blue plan,” or the “Community-Based Choice” plan, parents can choose from a variety of four to six elementary schools, each linked with a middle and high school. Students get priority based on whether they have a sibling at the school or live close by, and the district takes into account achievement balance and capacity at any individual school.

The "green" plan, also known as the “Base Schools Achievement Plan,” is similar to the current assignment model. Under it, the school system assigns students based on student achievement, ensuring that students from low-performing areas end up at high-performing schools.

Both plans address community schools, better programming, diverse schools, equitable and efficient use of resources, stability and student achievement, Tata said.

“The two plans take different paths. I’d like people to consider which idea they prefer, while we work out the remaining details,” he said.

Johnson said she is leaning toward the blue plan. "I would prefer to have choices," she said.

Parent Neela Gaddis saw the benefits of both.

"I think they both have their pros and cons, and it's a matter of what's important to you as an individual," Gaddis said.

Parent Sam Haney said he left Tuesday's meeting with more questions.

"How much does it cost? How do you define high-performance and low-performance schools?" Haney said.

Many parents were concerned because they could only view elementary schools for each plan. Wake County officials said they are working to add middle and high schools, but stressed that all schools listed are just examples to show the concept of each plan. 

Information meetings were also held Tuesday at Enloe High School and Athens Drive High School.

The plans are open for public comment until June 12, when they will be adjusted based on the feedback and put before the school board in mid-June.

The chosen plan would take effect with the 2012-13 school year.

Meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. on:

  • Wednesday, June 1 at Panther Creek High School
  • Thursday, June 2 at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School, Garner Magnet High School, Sanderson High School, Cary High School and Holly Springs High School