Local News

Parents to Get Transfer Options for Students at Failing Wake Schools

Posted July 16, 2007 9:49 p.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2007 12:14 p.m. EDT

— Wake County parents who have children attending 10 public elementary schools will likely have a choice of two other schools to which they can send their children if the schools fail to meet federal No Child Left Behind standards.

Board of Education members decided on Tuesday in anticipation of a July 25 federal report that may show the schools did not measure up on the state's standardized reading and math tests.

Those schools affected are Brentwood, Durant Road, Fuller, Green, Harris Creek, Millbrook, Powell, Wendell, Wilburn and York.

Federal law requires school systems to allow students the option to transfer if a school fails to meet the NCLB standards for two consecutive years.

Historically, in Wake County, only 1 percent of students end up moving to another school, but the potential number that could transfer could make the school system, already troubled by booming population growth, more complicated.

"We're going to have to find space for those students who wish to transfer out of those schools," school board member Rosa Gill said Tuesday. "That may cause an increase in the number of students. We will have a capacity issue."

After the test results are released, parents will likely receive a letter informing them of their other school options, which are based on where the child is assigned and whether it is on a year-round schedule.

Although most parents will have two options some of those with children attending Fuller Elementary School will only have one option. Criteria for selecting alternate schools include the potential impact on the school of choice, transportation patterns, availability of services and available space.

School administrators said changing and more-difficult testing standards were two main factors in the schools' failures to meet federal guidelines.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is an opportunity," Powell Elementary School Principal Jimmy Sposato said.

His students first fell behind on their math scores during the 2005-2006 school year, he said. Only two students decided to transfer then.
Schools must stay on the list for two years before they can be removed off it. Powell has one more school year before it will be off it.

"We're all about academic achievement and growth," Sposato said. "This is one way for us to improve and get out of sanctions."

After three consecutive years of failing grades, tutoring must be provided for students, and principals and teachers risk being terminated if a fourth year of failure occurs.