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Wake County school board members on how specific achievement/diversity should be in the student assignment policy

This week marks what could be a potentially major week in the history of Wake County student assignment.

As noted in today's article, the school board's policy committee will meet Tuesday to begin discussion of rewriting the student assignment policy to reintroduce diversity as one of the components. On Saturday, the school board will go over the 2013-14 draft student assignment plan that could potentially be rewritten to reflect the diversity changes.

One of the questions the school board will face is how to word the diversity component in the assignment policy. Should it be a general statement, as proposed by staff, or a more explicit document that would have a variety of income and achievement targets?

1348480867 Wake County school board members on how specific achievement/diversity should be in the student assignment policy The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County Commissioner Phil Matthews warning that Superintendent Tony Tata's job may be in danger

Is Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata in danger of losing his job?

"It was brought to my attention this afternoon by reliable sources that Wake County School Board members, (Jim) Martin, (Susan) Evans, and (Christine) Kushner were making plans to to remove Superintendent Tony Tata from his position," Phil Matthews, vice chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, wrote Sept. 11 on his Facebook page.

This is very concerning to me as a County Commissioner because Mr Tata has done an outstanding job for our school system. If this is true the citizens of Wake County will be very upset not to mention the majority of the Wake Commissioners. I will watch this situation very carefully!!"

UPDATE

The Hilburn Drive Academy PTA sent out this email this afternoon urging people to contact the school board to save Tata's job.

The email points to the positive changes that have been made at Hilburn since Tata became superintendent. On Sept. 11, Tata received an award from the school's PTA.

1348273162 Wake County Commissioner Phil Matthews warning that Superintendent Tony Tata's job may be in danger The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WCTA files complaint with AdvancED against Wake County school board majority

The Wake County Taxpayers Association announced today that it had filed a complaint with AdvancED asking the accreditation organization to investigate the actions of the Wake County school board majority.

The complaint hits on a variety of things, including the private meeting the new board members had with Michael Alves, the post-midnight vote on the student assignment directive and board member Jim Martin trying to arrange an assignment provision for parents going on sabbaticals,  

Several of the allegations deal with the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, from the behavior of some members in the audience of board meetings to charges they've unduly influenced the board majority.

Bob Geary says releasing Wake County student assignment maps now would be a "serious blunder"

Bob Geary is defending efforts by the three new Democratic members of the Wake County school board to delay public release of the new student assignment base maps.

In a blog post Wednesday for the liberal Independent weekly, Geary singles out board members Susan Evans, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin and says they were right for insisting that "the diversity piece (be) given form" before releasing the assignments.

"Letting the staff publish its online list of base schools by addresses — a list that would be preliminary at best, if only because no board member has even seen it yet, let alone thought about all the ways it needs to be changed — would've been a serious blunder," Geary writes.

"That was Tata's intention, apparently, to let parents start looking up their assignments on Friday. Talk about putting the cart before the horse."

1349297535 Bob Geary says releasing Wake County student assignment maps now would be a "serious blunder" The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school board members argue over when to publicly release student assignment maps

Wake County school board members had some sharp disagreements Tuesday about when to release to the public the new draft base assignment maps, including the ability to go online to search by your address.

As noted in today's article, the three new Democratic board members argued for a delay so they could see the maps first and to keep the comments at a global perspective for now. But all the Republican board members argued that the info should be released to parents as soon as possible.

GOP school board member John Tedesco made the suggestion to delay the public hearings, which had been slated to start Monday, so that the parents could view the maps and have some time to digest the info and give the comments on their particular assignments.

1348059283 Wake County school board members argue over when to publicly release student assignment maps The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County's new student assignment plan offering many different things

The draft summary of Wake County's new student assignment plan seems to promise a lot of things to different people.

As noted in today's article, the plan promotes proximity by noting that "base assignments will be made at one of their proximate schools to the extent possible." It also says that "residential areas and subdivisions proximate to schools and representative of the students already attending the schools" were used.

For those concerned about diversity, administrators say "in the establishment of the base school attendance area, student performance data was used when an overcrowded or under enrolled school was adjusted."

Wake County school board committee will discuss school support and school start times

The assistance that can be provided to non-magnet schools will be the bulk of today's Wake County school board student achievement committee meeting with a little discussion set aside for school start times.

The committee will discuss Wake's curriculum enhancement and school support options. The committee will review existing programs, criteria/selection, school performance, school demographics, growth composites, Title I schools and support, and intervention-at risk support.

This topic comes as staff told board members they would look to see what additional assistance could be offered to schools that aren't getting magnet programs as part of the new federal magnet grant.

Board member Christine Kushner, the committee chairwoman, said the second topic involves seeing how the community can get involved in terms of setting bell schedules. You had all the bell schedule changes this year to implement the new transportation plan and the periodic debates about which start times work better for which ages.

UPDATE

Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore said today she'll form a committee to look at bell schedule issues, including whether to change the start times for high schools and elementary schools.

Moore said the committee will be similar to the ones formed to work on the calendars and the time committee that recommended Wake Wednesdays/ Wacky Wednesdays. It will have members from the community and school system.

The committee was requested by Kushner. Moore got the go ahead from school board chairman Kevin Hill and board vice chairman Keith Sutton.

I'll do a separate post on the programs discussed today.

Wake County school board committee talks about imbalanced year-round school track utilization

New data shows that Wake County's year-round schools have imbalanced tracks in terms of enrollment, but school administrators say they're working to ease the problem over time.

Handouts from today's Wake County school board facilities committee meeting show that track four is above capacity while tracks two and three are way below their capacity. For instance, track two is operating at 68 percent of capacity districtwide in elementary schools and 44.5 percent in the middle schools.

The capacity figures are based on ideal long-range capacity, which is designed to reduce the number of modulars and mobiles on each campus. The capacity percentages would likely be lower if you base it off annual campus capacity, which takes into account all the temporary classrooms in use.

UPDATE

Click here to view Wake's plan for balancing the tracks and the 2012-13 year-round school utlilization by track.

Updated to make it clearer that decisions about collapsing tracks are no longer solely the call of the principal. It's now supposed to be done in coordination with the new plan to balance out tracks over time.

1347463565 Wake County school board committee talks about imbalanced year-round school track utilization The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school board members argue over what's to blame for bus problems

There were plenty of apologies and recriminations coming from Wake County school board members on Tuesday over the bus problems.

As noted in today's article, Superintendent Tony Tata and board members apologized to parents and students for the problems last week. But also amid the apologies, the new Democratic board members worked to distance themselves from the problems, blaming staff for telling them they could implement the new transportation plan.

In addition, the choice plan was also a target of the new Democratic board members.

Wake County school board members apologize for bus problems

More to come later, but Wake County school board members and Superintendent Tony Tata offered apologies tonight for the way bus service operated last week and the long registration lines at Central Office.

Words like "dismal," "unacceptable" and "failure" were used to describe the bus service last week. Board members Christine Kushner and Jim Martin called for an independent audit of the transportation department.

Along with the apologies, the new Democratic school board members blamed the bus and registration problems on the choice plan and changes made in student assignment by the former GOP majority. This drew a sharp response from the Republican board members.

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