Seats are still available for Wednesday's Wake Regional Education Roundtable on socioeconomic diversity.
It should be a lively discussion considering the two groups who are sponsoring the event — the Wake Education Partnership and the Garner Chamber of Commerce. Both have somewhat differing visions about diversity.
It's clear where the Partnership stands on the issue. They're going to present the position they put forward in their report, “Striking a Balance: In Support of Diversity in the Wake County Public School System.”
The Chamber's position is a bit more nuanced.
On one hand, Chamber members have complained about the large number of low-income students who are bused into the town's schools. They've also griped about how Garner students aren't going to schools in town.
In many ways that is what's articulated by supporters of neighborhood schools.
On the other hand, Chamber members have complained that Wake isn't doing a good enough job of following its diversity policy to get Garner schools to the goal of having less than 40 percent of their students receiving subsidized lunches.
Chamber members have had a big hand in school issues in recent years.
With the backing of Chamber members, Amy White defeated incumbent J.C. O'Neal for the school board seat in 2001.
The business community was again out in force in 2005 when they helped elect Horace Tart to the board. Since then, Tart has become more critical of neighborhood schools.
Chamber members lobbied Garner town leaders to threaten to delay permits for renovations at Smith and Aversboro elementary schools unless their F&R percentages were lowered.
Business leaders also urged town leaders to lobby against opening the new Bryan Road Elementary School out of fear it would have lots of low-income students from out of town.
Wake delayed Bryan Road into the next bond issue and is considering adding a magnet program at Smith.
It costs $10 to attend the forum. Lunch is provided. It will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Eagle Ridge Golf Course. (It's a private golf course.)
Click here to reserve your space.