Local News

Wake student assignment policy hot topic at public forum

Posted February 11, 2010 10:05 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2010 9:02 a.m. EST

— A public forum at Southeast Raleigh High School on Thursday was held to discuss Wake County year-round schools, but most comments centered on the county’s student assignment policy.

The school district assigns students so that no school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. Students are reassigned each year to maintain that level, as well as to fill new schools and relieve overcrowding.

At least five of the school board's nine members have indicated that they plan to end the practice, which can involve busing students to schools farther from their homes, in favor of neighborhood schools.

Board members who support the policy say changing the current plan in favor of neighborhood schools would disrupt diversity at schools.

School board member Keith Sutton requested Thursday night’s meeting after seeing a low participation of certain groups on a survey of year-round schools.

“There were many economically disadvantaged families that did not participate in the survey,” Sutton said.

While year-round schools were discussed, the fewer than 20 people who spoke mainly addressed the assignment policy.

“We have to realize racism still exists in Wake County,” said Amy Womble, who would like to see the program stay.

Some people, including Joey Stansbury, would rather see the policy go.

“We have no data the diversity policy works,” he said.

Wake County Board of Education committee has been holding meetings to discuss the assignment policy. They plan to make a recommendation to full board.

Other public forums on year-round schools are:

  • Thursday, Feb. 18 at Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Road, Wake Forest
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Leesville Road High School, 8409 Leesville Road, Raleigh
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 at Panther Creek High School, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary

Each meeting runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the schools' auditoriums.