Democratic members of the school board insisted those moves were in conflict with the directive so they shouldn't be considered. On the other hand, the Republican board members insisted those moves were in line with the directive, which cites the new assignment policy and the use of proximity as a principle.
You can expect the issue to be rehashed at today's student reassignment work session.
In addition to killing work on the zone plan, the Oct. 5 directive stated that the board would "remain engaged" in the three-year assignment plan.
"When considered appropriate, approved adjustments to the existing plan will occur in accordance with Policy 6200 on an individual basis, including node adjustments, calendar conversions and school designations," according to the directive. "Decisions regarding these adjustments should take into account stability, proximity, growth, and other factors that may be relevant."
Growth and Planning had interpreted the directive to mean they should focus their adjustments to the 2011-12 plan to filling Walnut Creek Elementary, reviewing previously approved moves involving existing schools and bringing up new moves to relieve crowding. Along the way, they made changes that incorporated the new policy's call for proximity.
Staff elected to place the moves it felt went beyond the scope of the directive, including most of the moves proposed at the last student assignment committee meeting, to a list of nodes it wasn't recommending. They form pages 7-12 of this handout and were left there as an audit trail to show all the changes suggested by various groups.
The Democratic board members went even further last week, saying the moves on pages 7-12 shouldn't even be considered because they felt it conflicted with the directive. After board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman objected that some of the moves on those pages had been discussed earlier this year, the Dems agreed to make an exception for them.
School board member Keith Sutton brought up how the board majority had cited proximity for approving reassignment changes for this school year even though the assignment policy hadn't been changed yet. He pointed to how the board members cited the old community schools directive to justify the changes.
With the new directive in effect, Sutton said they need to follow it, which he contends means only looking at the moves in the first six pages of the handout.
"This board majority back earlier the year, in February. or March, gave a directive on community-based schools and even though there were some of us around this table who disagreed with that we followed that directive," Sutton said. "Any time there was a discussion this agreement was brought up, the directive was pulled out. I think it's safe to say the student assignment committee and you Mr. Tedesco hugged that directive like a tree, like it was your girlfriend.
So I think it's way out of line to now that there's a new directive that we're bringing up things that are in conflict with that directive. The board minority followed your directive at that time and I think that this board ought to enforce the directive that's on the table and we do that with the help of our board attorney, who serves as our sergeant at arms if you will. And that we follow what our directive is and that's pretty clear, the directive that was voted on Oct. 5th."
School board member John Tedesco sharply disagreed with Sutton's conclusions. Tedesco had brought up throughout last week's work session that many of the moves would end long distance assignments that conflict with the proximity component of the new assignment policy.
"I do not think consideration of these nodes conflicts with the current directive and certainly doesn't conflict with the policy, which trumps directive the last time I checked," Tedesco responded.
Today's work session is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the board conference room, 3600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.