Wake County school officials are touting the grandfathering component in the new student assignment plan but it has some caveats.
The plan does provide grandfathering with transportation if you want to stay at your current school until you complete that grade span. The plan goes on to say that you can be grandfathered to stay in the remaining schools in that feeder pattern if you don't want what's on your list of choices.
The potential problem is you may not get transportation to go along with the grandfathering for that feeder pattern.
Here's an example that Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata gave to school board members.
Students who live in Southeast Raleigh who now attend Salem Elementary School in Apex can grandfather to stay there and keep their bus service. They can also choose to stay in Salem Elementary's feeder pattern to go to Salem Middle School and Apex High School.
But Tata said they may not provide those Southeast Raleigh students with bus service to Salem Middle and Apex High. That likely lack of bus service would make it harder for lower-income families to choose grandfathering.
Here's how it's worded in the assignment plan:
"Students who choose to 'grandfather' at their current school in the first years of the plan will maintain the same level of transportation they have today to that school through the end of the grade span," according to page 37 of the plan. "Once grandfathered students matriculate up to the next grade span (i.e., move from elementary to middle or middle to high school), the availability of transportation to that next school will be consistent with what is offered to all other families in their node for that school. In the event that a family chooses to grandfather into a school which aligns to a feeder pattern outside of their choice lists, they will have to provide their own transportation once the student transitions to the next grade span."
Wake has talked about how based on its test drive that 94 percent of students are expected to grandfather for the 2012-13 school year. But the response rate for the simulation was higher in the rest of the county than in Southeast Raleigh, where the end of the old diversity policy means they're less likely to have their current schools on their choice lists.
Logistically and economically, it would be tough to provide transportation along with grandfathering beyond the schools students are now attending.