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Wake school board proposes changes to reassignment plan

Members came up with 13 changes they want to make to the plan, which could affect thousands of students over the next three years.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of the Wake County Board of Education came up with 13 changes they want to make to a reassignment plan that could affect more than 25,000 students over the next three years.

Under the current proposal, which is to help fill 10 new schools, 9,801 students would be reassigned for the 2009-2010 school year; another 11,008 in 2010-2011; and 4,677 in 2011-2012.

At a work session Thursday morning, board members suggested moving up the reassignment timeline for some schools after parents who would be affected by the plan said that if students have to move, to make it sooner rather than later.

"We're very serious about this, and we want to make sure that the public input is heard and digested, and we have incorporated a number of changes," school board member Lori Millberg said.

Among the other changes are two that would expand the school system's grandfathering policy to be more accommodating to families.

Families who have been reassigned twice in three years may apply for a transfer to stay at their current schools, and those will be automatically granted.

For families who have two or more children at the same school and the older sibling is being reassigned, they can apply for a transfer that would be approved and automatically extended for the younger siblings so they can stay at the same school.

School system staff say they are able to be more flexible because growth projections have slowed and more schools have opened.

The board has yet to approve the list of recommended changes. If it votes in favor of the changes, it will have to schedule a public hearing. The board would like to vote on the overall reassignment proposal in early February.

Other changes include dropping no more than a few hundred students from the plan. Board members were expected to review each school to determine if any other changes should be made.

The changes come after a series of public input meetings, in which more than 1,000 parents showed up and more than 200 spoke on the matter. More than 1,400 people also submitted comments through the school system's Web site.

Some parents groups have been very vocal at the public meetings over a proposal to reassign students from Apex High School in Apex to Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

That matter was not among Thursday's list of recommended changes.

A number of the students in the current proposal are not currently enrolled in the school system. More than 1,400 are kindergarten students who will enter school over the next three years. Others are students expected to move into the area.

The school board says the new schools – five year-round elementary schools, three year-round middle schools and two high schools – provide additional space to accommodate growing enrollment numbers. Enrollment increased by 3,700 students for 2008-2009.


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