Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta's proposal to look at converting magnet schools to a multi-track year-round calendar ran into some bumps on Tuesday.
During the student assignment committee meeting, committee chairman John Tedesco asked whether it might be less challenging to implement the year-round model with some of the magnet themes. For instance, he asked if it would be easier to implement year-round with the International Baccalaureate program than with the Gifted and Talented program.
David Ansbacher, senior director of magnet programs, answered that "it depends."
Ansbacher said that the GT program, which is known for offering hundreds of electives, would be the "most challenging" to operate as a multi-track year-round. He said it would be expensive paying for enough teachers to offer elective on all four tracks.
Ansbacher said it would also be expensive to operate IB middle schools and high schools on year-round because students are expected to take foreign language, arts and technology classes each year. Like with GT, they'd have to have enough teachers to offer those courses on all four tracks.
"Is it possible? Yes," Ansbacher said. "It’s likely more expensive.”
Ansbacher said it wouldn't be as hard, in terms of offering different courses, at IB elementary schools.
Ansbacher said it would be less challenging at magnet themes which don't require as much teacher staffing. He cited examples such as the leadership and engineering themed programs.
"Scheduling and teacher cost would give the greatest challenge," Ansbacher said, summarizing the situation. "It's a question of priorities and the investment we'd make in the transition process."
Community committee member Anne Sherron said you also have to keep in mind facility issues because some of the magnets are in older and smaller schools that would be harder to operate on the multi-track year-round calendar.