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Wake Parents Sound Off In Latest Round Of Reassignment Meetings

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Students, Parents Speak Out About Reassignment
RALEIGH, N.C. — Next week, the Wake County Board of Education will go to work on drafting a 2004-05 final reassignment proposal. Before they do, parents and students voiced their suggestions and opinions Wednesday on a plan that has many upset.

The current reassignment plan recommends more than 7,800 students be transferred to new schools next year, due to the area's rapid growth.

"Growth equals new schools equal reassignment," said Dr. Ramey Beavers of Wake County Schools. "We are growing by,000 to 4,000 kids a year. We are opening seven new schools. We have to move children to fill them."

More than 100 people signed up to speak at two public forums. Parents were loud and clear about their opposition to the plan.

"We have the difficult task of informing the same children that they will be uprooted from their community to attend an unfamiliar school," parent Karen Burd said.

"They will be attending an elementary school that doesn't feed into their assigned middle school, then they will be attending a middle school that doesn't feed into their assigned high school," parent Drew Stephenson said.

Some parents are upset, claiming that school officials are using students as pawns in an effort to make sure the school system is diverse.

"It's an inconvenience to the children," parent Caroline Rockafellow said. "Those children are not being bused because of growth. They are being bused to meet economic diversity objectives."

The school board says race is not factored in any of the criteria for making decisons; however, it is trying to strike a balance in schools when it comes to socio-economic diversity and academic achievement.

The school board says it will sit down and review comments and suggestions made by parents, promising to take them into account as best they can.

A vote on a final proposal is expected on March 30.


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