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Nearly 14,000 families take part in blue plan test drive

Nearly 14,000 Wake County families participated in the test drive of the blue plan.

School officials say that got 21,769 responses from 13,805 unique addresses and 1,197 nodes before the test drive ended Friday. The survey responses will be sent to the SAS Institute, which is developing the algorithm that will be used to determine how seats will be filled in the selection lottery.
No updated information was provided on the individual responses to questions such as how important was it for families to be sent to their closest schools.

Extending the participation deadline accomplished the goal of getting more than 12,000 families to participate.

Wake to unveil student assignment models on May 23

We're getting some more details and a release date on Wake County student assignment models.

Superintendent Tony Tata said today they'll post online for public comment on May 23 the nine models reviewed by the task force. They'll also explain why they're recommending the "Blue Plan" and the "Green Plan."

The Blue Plan, which Tata also called the “community base choice plan” would be "rooted" in proposals such as the Wake School Choice Plan. This would be more of a choice plan.

SAS facing higher costs, hassles from health overhaul

SAS Institute plans to double its legal and consultant expenses in 2011, as the Cary software company tries to sort through changes coming under the federal health overhaul.

SAS is one of many companies dealing with the administrative headaches, and higher costs, brought by the reform law, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"There's administrative burden just to try and understand the 2,400 pages of the document," SAS vice president of human resources Jenn Mann told the newspaper. She declined to comment on how much SAS spends on health coverage or how much more it will pay in legal expenses.

Disputing the disagreements in the SAS report

Is it just a "technical disagreement" how Wake and SAS assess the performance of low-income students?

As noted in today's article, the SAS report is adding fuel to the school board races. One thing that has drawn a lot of attention is SAS questioning the way Wake normalizes the performance of low-income students when assessing school performance.

Asst. Supt. David Holdzkom said Wake isn't alone in making adjustments for low-income students. He called it a "technical disagreement" between Wake and SAS, which doesn't make that adjustment.

Net worth of SAS co-founders takes hit in Forbes richest list

Despite losing nearly $2 billion of his net worth, Jim Goodnight remains the richest person in North Carolina and held on to the No. 33 spot in the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans.

Goodnight's net worth of $6.8 billion was down from $8.7 billion last year, Forbes reported. Goodnight, 66, is co-founder and CEO of SAS Institute, the Cary-based company that is the world's largest privately owned software maker.

John Sall, who co-founded SAS in 1976, also saw his ranking drop a bit, to No. 91 from No. 84 last year. His net worth declined to $3.4 billion from $4.4 billion.

The only other Tar Heel on the Forbes list was Clemmie Spangler Jr. of Charlotte, with a net worth of $1.65 billion, down from $2 billion last year. He is ranked No. 212 on the Forbes list.

Microsoft's Bill Gates topped the list, followed by investor Warren Buffett and Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison.

See the full list here.

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