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Wake County school board weighing pros and cons of delaying feeder patterns

Are the complaints that have come in about the new feeder patterns worth the consequences of delaying their implementation in Wake County's new student assignment plan?

As noted in today's article, the Democratic board members cited all the complaints they've received to suggest a one-year delay in implementation. But the Republican board members and staff warned that could pose major problems to the plan.

If the feeder patterns are delayed, staff thinks that will require all rising sixth- and ninth-graders to have to apply for a school this year. The students currently in middle school and high school would be grandfathered with transportation but could apply to go elsewhere.

Former Superintendent Del Burns on Crestwich/Wake County schools in his new book

Former Wake County Superintendent Del Burns apparently has a lot to say about the school system in his new book "Preserving the Public in Public Schools."

But, as noted in today's article, Burns' new book isn't officially about Wake. Instead, he writes about the fictional Crestwich Public Schools, which is Wake in all but name.

The book talks about Crestwich/Wake's merger, adoption of magnet schools, busing for diversity, student reassignment, the impact of a new majority sweeping into office and a lot of other things.

Carpenter Elementary families criticize putting Mills Park Middle on traditional calendar

Did the Wake County school board make a mistake in 2010 by voting to open Mills Park Middle on a traditional calendar instead of as planned on the year-round calendar?

As noted in today's article, the answer was yes Tuesday from several Carpenter Elementary parents who blamed the decision to open Mills Park on a traditional calendar as a big reason why they're feeding into East Cary Middle in the new student assignment plan.

Without Middle Park as a year-round school, the plan gives the Carpenter families calendar continuity by sending them to East Cary. But parents said it's their seventh closest middle school located on the other side of Cary.

1324474291 Carpenter Elementary families criticize putting Mills Park Middle on traditional calendar The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Retooling of Heather Losurdo's campaign message for runoff

Will Wake County school board candidate Heather Losurdo be able to turn things around today thanks to the help of some outside political advice she picked up after the runoff?

After Losurdo only picked up 40 percent of the vote on Oct. 11, the campaign reached out to Jack Hawke to be a consultant for the runoff. Hawke is a longtime figure in state politics, having been the former chairman of the state Republican Party, a former president of the conservative Civitas Institute and a consultant to presumptive GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory.

"I knew we had to change things," Hawke said. "She was 10 points down (as of Oct. 11). I'm proud of what she's done but we had a lot of ground to make up."

Heather Losurdo on Kevin Hill saying he will "stonewall" parents

This is the "stonewall" campaign mailer from Wake County school board candidate Heather Losurdo that has generated some controversy in District 3.

The mailer says that incumbent school board member "Kevin Hill says he will 'Stonewall' Concerned Parents." She got the year wrong in the mailer but it references a March 30, 2010 email that was released last year by the Bedford Homeowners Association.

"Some 300 Bedford area parents signed a petition to the School Board asking to be heard about the reassignment of their children from nearby Wakefield High School to Heritage High," says the mailer. "Kevin Hill refused to meet with us and emailed the principal at Heritage that he intended to 'stonewall' them and their petition. Heather Lousrdo will listen to her constituents and advocate for their needs. Is that any way for a Representative to treat his constituents?"

Heather Losurdo calls WSCA "Wake County's leading independent education reform organization"

Wake County school board candidate Heather Losurdo is promoting her runoff endorsement from the Wake Schools Community Alliance in this new campaign mailer.

In the mailer, Losurdo quotes from the WSCA endorsement which had blamed incumbent Kevin Hill for "failing graduation rates," "600 teachers fired," "26,000 students reassigned," "'Wacky Wednesday' PLTs" and "mandatory year-round schedules." The mailer quotes how WSCA said Losurdo "has consistently supported neighborhood schools, advocated for the use of EVAAS" and "called for civility and consensus-building on our School Board."

"Wake County's Leading Independent Education Reform Organization Supports Heather Losurdo," says the mailer. "So should you."

The mailer is interesting considering how Losurdo's supporters were dismissive of the WSCA before the runoff when the group endorsed Jennifer Mansfield.

1320411668 Heather Losurdo calls WSCA "Wake County's leading independent education reform organization" The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Proposed assignment plan changes from staff

There's some good news and bad news for parents about potential changes in the Wake County student assignment plan.

Staff is recommending today that North Ridge Elementary now feed into Sanderson High instead of Millbrook High. Staff says there's capacity at both schools and it will free up more magnet seats at Millbrook, create more seats for students who live near that school and still give proximity priority to some North Ridge families who want Millbrook to Sanderson.

Staff said they can't recommend the proposal from parents to do a 40-40 split for both high schools or sunset current North Ridge students because it would set a precedent they'd feel would have to be offered to families at other schools as well. They said offering a mix of base assignments with a choice plan got Charlotte-Mecklenburg in trouble.

UPDATE

The assignment plan was approved as recommended by staff with no changes.

Wake announces Hilburn K-8 survey

Just days before the Wake County school board is to vote on the plan, school officials announced today they will survey parents about expanding Hilburn Drive Elementary to offer middle school grades.

The school board will vote Tuesday on making Hilburn the first K-8 school in Wake in decades starting in 2012. The online survey starting Saturday will ask parents for their feelings about the plan, including what calendar they think Hilburn should use.

One option would have the entire Hilburn campus operate on a traditional calendar. The other options would have the elementary school students stay on the traditional calendar with the middle school students either operating on a single-track or multi-track year-round calendar.

MSNBC trying to link Koch brothers to school board elections through AFP support to Wake CARES

Do 2007 donations from the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity to Wake CARES during the mandatory year-round lawsuit constitute grounds for linking the conservative Koch brothers to the 2009 Wake County school board elections?

That's how the left-wing cable news network MSNBC is trying to tie the Koch brothers to the new school board majority that ended the diversity policy. It was part of a segment on Wake County schools titled "Repealing the 20th Century" that aired Thursday night on MSNBC's "The Last Word" show.

"Now there are multiple reports directly or indirectly linking the Koch brothers — those mysterious right-wing billionaires behind the Astroturf-group Americans for Prosperity — to the Republican school board members who are actively pushing to resegregate Wake County schools," said Melissa Harris-Perry, the show's guest host. "To be fair, it's not entirely clear just how much money the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity put behind the candidates in 2009."

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

1313778057 MSNBC trying to link Koch brothers to school board elections through AFP support to Wake CARES The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake CARES founders host campaign event for Ron Margiotta

Wake CARES is touting its support of Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta's re-election bid in District 8.

In a press release today, Margiotta's campaign points to how the three co-founders of Wake CARES — Kathleen Brennan, Patrice Lee and Dawn Graff — hosted a Family Fun Day on July 17 to support Margiotta.

“It is no surprise that so many people support Ron in his re-election to the School Board,” said Brennan in the press release. “Ron has worked tirelessly to respond to the frustration of parents throughout Wake County at the former status quo that resulted in years of policies that resulted in frequent reassignments, mandatory year round schedules and a failure to innovate or achieve the academic potential of students throughout the system."

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