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Wake School Board Votes on Part Of Reassignment Plan

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RALEIGH — The latest Wake County school reassignment saga will continue for a few more days. Theschool boardended up approving part of their reassignment plan, but some parents still have questions about where their children will go to school.

The board approved the plan for magnet and year-round schools to give the parents whose children are interested in the schools enough time to deal with the application process.

Hundreds of parents attended the meeting to hear the school board's plans. Several parents from the Preston Village neighborhood in Cary displayed signs to voice their input. However, they were not allowed to speak because they were not affected by the reassignment plans.

For parents in Preston Village, the current school assignment splits up neighborhood children, which some say is unsettling.

"All of the people really thought their children would be able to walk to school," says Preston Village resident John Costigan. "Now, they can't walk to school. They are not going to be able to go to school with the kid that lives next to them."

The school board also discussed teachers' salaries during the meeting.

The North Carolina Association of Educators told board members that Wake County teachers are making $3,000 less than the national average.

They asked the school board to promise to pay teachers more, but school board members made no decisions.

The board has scheduled another meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday where they hope to vote on the remaining parts of the reassignment plan. The initial proposal called for moving about 6,000 students. The new reassignment plan cuts that number in half. The plan also includes magnet and year-round schools.

School officials hope the board will vote on the part of the plan that will affect those students. That way parents who want to send their children to magnet or year-round schools can be notified.

The school board will also hear a report on teacher pay. The North Carolina Association of Educators says Wake County teachers are not making as much as their counterparts in similar school districts.

The group wants the school board and county commissioners to pledge more money to pay teachers. That could lead to a tax hike.

"Survey after survey shows people support paying our teachers more, but they also don't want a tax hike and that's not realistic," says labor consultant Peggy Titus.

Titus thinks voters would approve a tax hike for teacher pay if they realized better schools would increase property values.

Overall, Wake County teachers make $3,000 less than the national average. -->