Here's a batch of letters that got overrun by other issues before they could see print:
Of the 20 speakers signed up for tonight's public comment session, nearly all the speakers at the Wake County school board meeting want to talk about the two single-sex leadership academies.
A large number of students and parents from the Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy and Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy are in the audience. Speakers want to talk about approving the schematic designs for renovations for the two schools and the lease for the WYMLA to stay at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind.
Some families at the two schools are worried that the firing of Superintendent Tony Tata, who was a big backer of the program, could jeopardize the future of the program.
The board agreed to spend $3.4 million to renovate the former Thompson School in downtown Raleigh so the Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy can relocate there next year.
The board approved spending $4.7 million to renovate part of the campus of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind that's housing the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy.
Before the votes, board member Jim Martin spoke to the students about issues such as the need to explain to others why school diversity is valuable and that per-pupil funding shouldn't be cut. Students had talked about the diversity at the all-application school.
After the closed session tonight, the board voted to authorize negotiating a 20-year lease with the Morehead School to house the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy.
The battle for state schools superintendent has some notable parallels with the Wake County school board's decision in 2010 over to who to hire as superintendent.
As noted in today's article, State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson, the Democratic incumbent, points to her career as an educator to argue she should get a third term. But Wake County school board member John Tedesco, her Republican challenger, argues that what's not needed is someone like Atkinson who has been part of the "Raleigh education establishment since 1976."
Similar issues were raised in 2010 when the Republican majority on the Wake school board opted to hire Tony Tata, a retired Army general, as superintendent over a career educator. Member of the Democratic board majority, who fired Tata on Sept. 25, had resisted efforts to make it possible for non-educators to hold the position.
Costs are going up for Wake County's two new single-sex leadership academies while the delayed sale of the school system's office buildings is cutting into its ability to use its unspent bond money.
Last week, Don Haydon, Wake's chief facilities and operations officer, presented this handout of spending from the current school construction program showing they're projecting $5.1 million in savings. He said it's more than previously projected because they're able to get lower bids now for projects.
But before the board talks about how to spend that $5 million, Haydon said that they need to sell the district's vacated office buildings, including the former headquarters on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.
The Wake County school board unanimously voted tonight to enter into a lease to use part of the campus for the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh to house a new all-girls school.
Wake will pay $387,840.80 a year to house the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy. The Council of State also approved the lease today since it involved state property.
Some Morehead parents and staff were unhappy about the lease, feeling the blind students were losing the best spots on campus to Wake. But the deal is supposed to help generate enough money to allow the state to keep the school open.
Wake opted to house all the female students at the Morehead School after negotiations fell through to place some of the students on the campus of William Peace University.
The Wake County school board is facing a lengthy agenda on Tuesday, including extending school waiting lists, changing the bell schedule for Middle Creek Elementary and votes on the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy and the career and technical education high school.
Staff is recommending extending the waiting lists for students who didn't get into their first-choice school from June 29 to July 18. Any later could result in a student withdrawing after the 10th day of classes in a year-round school and thus not being counted at the new school.
The board will also vote on moving Middle Creek Elementary from a 9:15 a.m. start time to 8:30 a.m. According to the board agenda, it's being done to treat Middle Creek Elementary, West Lake Elementary and West Lake Middle as a single campus because of their close proximity.
The Coalition of Concerned Concerned Citizens for African American Children is backing creation of a new career and technical education high school for Wake County, but is also saying they "are concerned about how this program is being designed and implemented."
In this press release sent late Monday, the CCCAAC questions whether the former Coca-Coca Bottling factory on Wilmington Street is the right location. The group asks "would the Gov. Morehead site be better, or perhaps a site closer to eastern Wake?"
Using the Gov. Morehead School could prevent it from also housing students from the single-sex leadership academies, a program that CCCAAC has opposed.
Wake County school system looking at housing leadership academy middle school students at the Governor Morehead SchoolSubmitted by KeungHui on 02/10/2012 - 10:00
Is the Governor Morehead School for the Blind the right place to house some of the students in the Wake County school system's new single-sex leadership academies?
Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata told state legislators on Tuesday that he's been negotiating with the state Department of Public Instruction to lease space at the Morehead School to house 300 students. It's part of State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson's ongoing efforts to find alternative funding to avoid closing the Morehead School.
Later at Tuesday's school board meeting, Tata provided more detail to board members. He said the plan is to house the middle school students from the leadership academies at the Morehead School.
I'll go into more detail later, but here's an abbreviated recap of Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata's press conference today.
Tata said he's hoping to soon reach a deal to lease the Governor Morehead School for the Blind site. He said the deal will help raise money to save the program while also providing Wake with "prime" space for a new school in that part of Raleigh.
Tata said the 3,541 magnet school applications received so far is comparable to this same time period in February. As to people complaining about seeing only a handful of seats being listed as available at some schools, Tata said the nunber is no different than in past years but they're now being transparent.
What that number reflects Tata said, is the number of seats open to students who are not yet in the magnet program. The number of openings looks artificially low because they're no longer making rising sixth- and ninth-graders in magnet schools apply to move on to the next school in their feeder.
Tata said the recent AdvancED review team visit went well and he's expecting a good report in the next 30 days.