The Cary era of the Wake County school board officially starts this afternoon with the first meeting at the Crossroads I Building.
The new board room and conference at 5625 Dillard Drive both hold more seats than the former digs at Wake Forest Road. But there are also sight-line issues so monitors have been placed around the board room for people who will have a hard time seeing the board table.
The work session agenda appears to be much meatier than the regular meeting agenda with topics such as student assignment, the Hilburn Elementary conversion, the new middle school math placement policy and school bus travel times.
The length of the discussions on the student assignment update and the Hilburn K-8 conversion will impact how much time the board has for the other work session topics.
One thing to watch is how much support and resistance there is for the new middle school math placement policy. Some board members don't like how the policy would only allow teachers to override EVAAS to place a student in a higher math class but not to send a student into a lower level one.
School board vice chairman John Tedesco said, based on the work session discussion, he'd like to get the policy added today to the regular session agenda.
Transportation staff will present information on the lengths and distances of school bus routes. Depending on what the information shows, Tedesco said he might want staff to revise board R&P to limit how long a student could travel on a bus, even the magnet students who voluntarily choose the longer rides.
The R&P used by staff says that the one-way ride time should be less than 45 minutes for most students. But it says it can be up to 75 minutes one-way for base elementary students, up to 90 minutes for base secondary students and up to two hours for magnet and calendar-option students.
Tedesco said no student should have to ride two hours each way and four hours round trip each day, even if it's a magnet student going voluntarily.
Tedesco said they might want to lower the maximum one-way times. For magnet students, he said that might mean using more express busing to make the routes more efficient.
Heading into the regular agenda, one item deals directly with the efforts to consolidate Central Services. Staff has said Wake could save $29 million over 20 years from the move to Crossroads, assuming the various administrative buildings in Raleigh are sold off.
The agenda includes a vote on selling part of the land housing the Central Services building on 2302 Noble Road in Raleigh for $1.9 million.
But Wake will need to sell the Wake Forest Road building at a good price to recoup the savings.
The school board gave a thumbs up to staff continuing work on the Hilburn conversion. In the meantime, Tata will develop a plan for getting more community input.
The sheet presented today indicated they're looking at moving Hilburn to single-track year-round. But Tata said the board shouldn't focus on that because 99 percent of the discussion has bee on it staying on the traditional calendar.
The board voted to reject the offer to sell part of the Noble Road property because it was 15 percent under the appraised value of the parcel. Credit goes to Carolyn Morrison for questioning the price and urging them to wait until they can get a better deal.
I'll cover the ride time discussion in a separate post.