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Wake County school bonds opponents run newspaper ad

Opponents of the $810 million Wake County school bond issue have purchased newspaper and online ads urging people to vote no Tuesday because “there is a better, more efficient way to provide what is truly necessary.”

The print ad, which appeared Sunday in the News & Observer’s community papers, cites issues such as the 10.5-percent tax increase, the number of available seats and says Wake has “a reputation of overestimating" enrollment. It also notes changes made by the General Assembly that would increase competition from private schools and charter schools.

The version of the ad that appeared in the Southwest Wake News also charges that “Apex is once again the step-sister of the bond. Apex High Schools much needed renovations will once again not be included.”

East Wake Republican Club opposes Wake County school bond issue

The East Wake Republican Club is opposing the $810 million Wake County school construction bond issue and says it will "use their resources to defeat the measure. “

In a press release dated Friday, the club says it unanimously voted to reject the bond issue because of “a lack of funding for actual education, unused capacity for growth already available, audit findings pointing to misuse of current resources, and the 10% tax increase residents will suffer for a largely unnecessary proposal.”

“East Wake Republicans support great public education and the hard working teachers and staff laboring to improve educational achievement for students and their families,” according to the press release. “East Wake Republicans are working to elect common sense conservative school board members who will prioritize real academic progress.”

Twenty new Wake County charter schools could open in 2015

There could potentially be as many as 20 new charter schools opening in Wake County in fall 2015.

The 20 Wake applicants were among the 170 letters of intent received by the state Department of Public Instruction by Friday's deadline for opening in the 2015-16 school year. The intent letters aren't the same as an application, but they give state officials an indication of what interest level exists.

For instance, the state received 156 letters of intent for the 2014-15 school year with 70 ultimately applying. Of that group, 26 got preliminary approval last week.

Impact of charters schools and private schools on Wake County school bond issue

What impact, if any, should the expected growth in the number of students who will attend charter schools, private schools and home schools have on the outcome of the $810 million Wake County school bond issue?

As noted in today's article, bond opponents contend that the growth in these educational alternatives , coupled with Wake’s empty seats and available modular units, reduce the need for the bond to pass. But bond supporters argue that they have to plan on the district getting those 20,000 new students projected by 2018.

“We have accounted for it,” said school board Chairman Keith Sutton of the growth in those other school alternatives. “They’re just saying stuff and throwing stuff out there.”

Diane Ravitch calls Yevonne Brannon "a hero of public education in North Carolina"

Education commentator Diane Ravitch is calling Yevonne Brannon "one of the heroes of public education in North Carolina" for fighting taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools and for her efforts to support busing for diversity in Wake County.

In a post today on her blog, Ravitch wrtes that "public education is under siege" in North Carolina" as the state "has enacted radical privatization measures, including charters and vouchers." Ravitch writes that "North Carolinians are not standing still," pointing to the Moral Monday rallies.

"One of the stalwarts of the effort to stop the destruction of public education is Dr. Yevonne Brannon," Ravitch writes. "She is one of the leaders of Public Schools First NC, which has encouraged resistance to the extremists. She has lived in Wake County for 40 years, and has been a steadfast supporter of racial integration and quality education for all."

Four Wake County charter schools get preliminary approval to open in 2014

Four charter schools are now set to open in Wake County for the 2014-15 school year.

The State Board of Education voted today to give preliminary approval to 26 new charter schools. The ones in Wake are Cardinal Charter School, Dynamic Community Charter, Envision Science Academy and Wake Forest Charter Academy.

The State Board considered, but did not approve, six applicants that had been interviewed but not recommended by the now-disbanded Public Charter School Advisory Council. That group of six includes Wisdom Academy, proposed for Southeast Raleigh, that’s now been denied a second year in a row.

WCTA tells people to "Remember Detroit" to defeat Wake County school bond issue

The Wake County Taxpayers Association is trying to defeat the $810 million Wake County school bond issue by drawing parallels with the municipal bankruptcy situation going on in Detroit.

On the WCTA Facebook page , the header reads “Remember Detroit” by the words “Vote No on Bonds Oct. 8.” The City of Detroit filed for federal Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in July in a case involving an estimated $18 billion to $20 billion in debt.

“You don't have to guess where unrestrained debt takes us. We have a living example.... “ the WCTA writes in a Sunday Facebook post that links to an online article on Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Wake County Commissioners review results of legislative agenda

The Wake County Board of Commissioners got a very concise update today on how well their efforts went to get school-related legislation passed this year by the General Assembly.

Denise Foreman, assistant to Wake County Manger David Cooke, said they get “partial credit” on their request to change the majority of Wake school board seats to at-large positions. That’s because while the General Assembly passed a law changing the Wake elections, it definitely won’t result in the public picking five of the nine school board members.

On the request for legislation to let the commissioners provide capital funding to charter schools, Foreman said it “didn’t go anywhere.”

Waiting for Wake County's new graduation rate and new charter schools

There are a couple of items at today’s State Board of Education meeting that could impact the Wake County school system and families in this area.

The 2013 high school graduation figures will be released at the meeting. In addition to seeing whether the state has continued to increase its graduation rate, another thing to see is whether Wake is still above the state average. The gap between the two has shrunk sharply since 2006.

Another question is how many charter schools in Wake County could still be in line to open in the 2014-15 school year.

UPDATE

The State Board of Education voted today to add for consideration the six applicants that were interviewed but not recommended by the Public Charter School Advisory Council. This includes Wisdom Academy, proposed for the Southeast Raleigh area.

House passes bill letting charter schools expand grades without state approval

The state House approved a bill today that would let most of the state's charter schools expand their grade levels without seeking state approval.

The bill says that state Board of Education approval isn't needed to "expand to offer one grade higher than the charter school currently offers if the charter school has operated for at least three years and has not been identified as having inadequate performance as provided in G.S. 115C - 238.29G(a1)."

That compromise language was added to House Bill 250 by a conference committee formed after the blll was rejected by the House last week.

UPDATE

The Senate adopted the conference committee version of House Bill 250. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.

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