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Giving new school board members the power to change board advisory councils

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You could soon see some major shakeups in the membership of the Wake County school board advisory councils.

The policy committee recommended on Wednesday a policy change that says members of the board advisory councils need to be reinstated after new school board members take office. It's a major change from current policy in which BAC members serve until their terms expire, which can run for up to three years.

The change is important considering the differences in opinions between most new school board members and their predecessors.

The change would apply to school board members who are elected or appointed. The new school board members would be expected to decide whether to reinstate their BAC members "within a reasonable length of time following the Oath of Office."

School board member Debra Goldman, chairwoman of the policy committee, said the reason for the revision is that new members might not be able to make any changes on their BACs because of the terms of the members.

In Goldman's case, she said she's "thrilled" with her BAC members even though she knows several disagree with her positions. But she said the problem is there won't be any openings on her BAC until 2011.

Goldman said she'd like the ability to appoint new BAC members right now whose views she thinks would be good based on the "different emerging issues" at the time.

School board members nominate BAC members for approval by the full school board.

Goldman said that the BACs should be driven by the school board members and not by the members of the BACs.

School board member Keith Sutton said he'd like the opportunity to be able to make changes on the BAC he inherited after taking office in August. But he said it's also good that the current policy prevents a new school board member from removing his whole council.

Sutton proposed staggering terms so that one third of each BAC's membership would be up for renewal each year.

School board member Kevin Hill suggested a compromise in which additional at-large BAC positions could be created. But Goldman said she's concerned that it would just make the size of the BACs too large.

The change was approved 3-0 by Goldman, Chris Malone and Anne McLaurin. Only committee members can vote in the committee. Malone, before his vote, said he was "delighted" with his board advisory council.

The policy change will be discussed at Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting. The change still needs to be approved by the full board to go into effect.

This isn't the first time that BACs have been an issue with the new board. As you recall, some BAC chairs were not happy that a meeting between them and the board was cancelled by school board chairman Ron Margiotta.

Click here for the new policy. Point C2 should have been highlighted to reflect the new language about BAC positions requiring reinstatement.

Click here for the current policy.

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Why there was a mid year meeting, and BAC 101

When the BAC Chairs met in August of last year, Kevin Hill gave them three or four topics the board wanted feedback on. (Rosa Gill, as chairwoman of the WCSB, was the one who started giving BAC's directives. She felt the BAC's were being underutilized and reactive. Being more proactive, she felt, would help the school board in its plan of work. This has been a practice since.) The BAC Chairs asked Mr. Hill for a mid year meeting, as some were new to the job, and others felt waiting all year to touch base on the topics was too long. I gathered this from the August meeting minutes, which were sent to me by the board secretary, once I was voted in as District 6 BAC Chair, after Carolyn Morrison became our school board rep. Each BAC operates in their own unique way, and of course as directed by board policy. In District 6 under Beverley Clark, two meetings were topic oriented, and two meetings were general chat, so that Mrs. Clark could learn what issues were on the forefront in her area from the group's perspective. By the way, all board advisory meetings are open to the public. Dr. Morrison so far has brought in speakers to each of her advisory meetings. We have listened to Chuck Delaney and David Holdzcom so far this year. They both tailored their talk to our specific area's schools. She has another speaker at the next meeting. The BAC Chairs were looking forward to learning if the directives Mr Hill gave was still the directives Mr Margiotta wished us to research, and a majority were dissapointed the meeting was canceled. Each parent gives not only the time they spend at the meetings, but the time they spend in their school gathering the information to report back to the BAC. We as chairs want to be effective and help keep our board rep well informed from our area. Some BAC Chairs were also looking forward to coming together as a whole to ask questions of each other, to better understand the different perspectives across the county regarding the new board's direction. I personally want to hear more from the Apex and Holly Springs areas - I'm a "North Raleigh girl" and rarely cross the Hillsborough Street line. Their issues are different than North Raleigh - I'd like to understand better. The BAC's serve as a vital link between the board room and the classroom - involved parents and school principals make up the council, along with 2 or 3 at large members. District 6 has never been political, has never voted on a topic of discussion, and has never debated issues. We have simply been a communication vehicle, speaking to the issues in our area to our board member, and her back to us.

In District 6 under Beverley Clark

Chatter from ITB says that there were no District 6  advisory meetings for at least the past 2 years.  My parent friends at those schools were  very concerned that they did not have the same opportunity to meet as the other districts did.  No one  really knows why Clark chose to abandon her BAC. 

That is very bizarre.  In

That is very bizarre.  In my opinion, Bev Clark was very successful in looking out for her district.  It really surprises me that they didn't meet.

This was told to me by

This was told to me by parents at 2 different schools.  I just looked at the past BOE calendars which list the BAC meetings.  The last full year that District 6 met was the 2007-2008 school year, last meeting being on April 2008.

 There were no meetings scheduled or held  for the 2008-2009 school year.

According to the BOE calendar, the first District 6  meeting from April 2008 was this past November of 2009.  

 

I wasn't questioning you,

I wasn't questioning you, sorry if it sounded like that.  I'm just amazed that's what happened.  I feel bad for those parents--how frustrating.

"Rosa Gill, as chairwoman of

"Rosa Gill, as chairwoman of the WCSB, was the one who started giving
BAC's directives. She felt the BAC's were being underutilized and
reactive. Being more proactive, she felt, would help the school board
in its plan of work."

Interesting difference in perspective.  I feel that the role of BACs was diminished somewhat by the assignment of BAC topics.  As our BAC had tended to study items of interest to our members, having pre-assigned topics for so many meetings seemed to be a way to muzzle our group from working on independent topics.  I'd prefer to see a mix --- perhaps 1 or 2 major issues assigned to all BACs, and maybe a secondary list of "maybe you want to address" issues, but leaving the BAC some time to address items of specific interest to that BAC.

pre-assigned topics for so

pre-assigned topics for so many meetings

There are  4 meetings a year - basically one a quarter.    Does your BAC meet more than that?  If so, who pushes the extra meetings for your issues- the parent chair or your Board member?

"There are  4 meetings a

"There are  4 meetings a year - basically one a quarter.    Does your
BAC meet more than that?  If so, who pushes the extra meetings for your
issues- the parent chair or your Board member?"

I served on our BAC about 3 years ago (though I still attend most meetings.)  I seem to remember having about 6 or 7 meetings a year --- pretty much monthly meetings beginning in September and going through the spring, usually skipping a month in December or January.

I don't know who drove the scheduling.  I think that the board policy just set a minimum number of meetings, and didn't set an upper limit.

That's what's driving my perception that the role of the BAC is weakening.  With only 4 meetings, and with pre-selected topics  for those, there's really not a whole lot that the BAC can do.  (Especially when the topic is something like having the BAC sit back and listen to WEP show the "Shift Happens" video.  Also, with the time frame of typical BAC meeting (normally about an hour and a half or so), it is really difficult to hear a presentation on a new topic and then get a meaningful reaction from a group of about 40 or so people.

 

I would love to meet you

and talk to you about the Holly Springs schools and issues. Feel free to contact me. Keung, would you please share my email with Ms. Sherron? Thanks.

How can I find out who

How can I find out who represents which school?

...http://www.wcpss.net/Board/advisory-committees/

page is blank 

 

Who Reps each school & terms

The school board secretary mans the list.  Each of the commmittee members are brought to the full board for approval by their board member.  These representatives are suggested to the board member by the PTA and/or Principal of each school, as per policy. The term duration was a subject that came up a few years ago and policy was changed.  It used to be a mandatory 3 year term, and reps felt that was to long a commitment. I believe the terms are one, two or three years, depending upon how long the rep wants to serve, and how long the board member wants them to serve, but don't quote me on those time frames - I can't recall exactly how it was changed.  The terms are considered on an individual basis - children do grow up and the rep should have a student in that school. Makes sense. By the way - anyone can go to these meetings, you don't even have to live in that district.  They are governed by open meetings laws, and show up on the weekly board agenda, put out I believe on Fridays.  If you are interested, you can have you name added to the e-mail list that receives the agenda, or you can check the school board page of the wcpss web site to see it also. Contact the board secretary if you want to be added.

If BACs are merely a

If BACs are merely a communication vehicle, it doesn't seem to matter much who is on the BAC. But if BACs are sounding boards and peddle an agenda of their own, BOE members should have a right to change BAC members. Also, BAC members should be rotated once a year to keep BOE members apprised of different issues and perspectives.

"Also, BAC members should be

"Also, BAC members should be rotated once a year to keep BOE members apprised of different issues and perspectives."

I think you are assuming that older members lose touch with the issues and need to be replaced ... I would prefer to have the best person represent my school ... someone with history and experience ....

School reps

I can only speak to District 6, but I have found the type of parent that chooses to represent his/her child's school rarely has been a "yes man" to the status quo - whatever the status quo was at the time they submitted their name. For example,  I became active when I saw Douglas Elementary falling into disrepair, and needing more resources to educate the swelling number of ESL students in our base. The best parent representative is not a "yes man" for the board member, but an advocate for their individual school. I am not sure the new board members understand how valuable an independent and informed thinker is for them on this committee.  The schools do, and suggest the best person to represent their school and its own set of issues. This is not supposed to be a "top down" committee, hence the name "Board Advisory". 

You get a different

You get a different perspective rather than having to listen to the same advisors for the rest of eternity (or your term).

Sometimes the best advisors are those who disagree with you

That is one good reason to keep a BAC system that runs on a different cycle than the election system.

What exactly is the agenda/

What exactly is the agenda/ objective of a BAC and how do they go about accomplishing the same?

It is to bad that this great

It is to bad that this great medium is not used better for debate.

Medium/debate

I agree my3cents, but maybe there are board members that do not want to have to defend group actions individually so close to home?  I believe they have coined the term "unintended consequences" recently, and are widespread across every school.  You don't have to be one of the 5 in the majority to feel very alone in front of 50-60 people from your area, attempting to answer the very tough questions that have no answers yet - such as the student assignment domino that will be caused by the Forestville High delay - that domino covers three, maybe even four districts, and also could have an impact on magnet selection.

defining the role of the BAC

I am the BAC rep for Baileywick Elementary and the chair of the district 3 BAC. The role of the BAC has changed significantly between the 2 board members under which I've served. I spent the first year with Carol Parker, a great board member who always sought to support central office initiatives while also supporting the needs of the different school environments. Carol understood that our schools are unique and sometimes fragile environments. I felt like the district 3 BAC was a way for Carol to talk about BOE decisions and get feedback from us, and also a way for her to connect with the schools she represented and understand how she could best support us. That is what a BAC should be. I think that as the system become more heavy handed (during the last reassignment of 24,000 kids and massive feeder pattern changes) that changed and my BAC has not been a two way conversation - it one way - the central office way. Although we are tasked with doing research on issues of importance (and I did) I was asked to resign at one point because I spoke out in support of using EVAAS (before it was mandated that we use it). Filling the BACs with only people who agree with the direction of the school system is a BAD idea - THEN and NOW. Had there been more give and take, more conversation and more real listening the election might have turned out differently. The worst thing the new BOE could do is shut out active, engaged parents because they do not agree with them on all issues. And the worst thing that BAC reps can do is not listen to WHY the new BOE made their decisions.

Agreed

"Although we are tasked with doing research on issues of importance (and
I did) I was asked to resign at one point because I spoke out in
support of using EVAAS (before it was mandated that we use it). Filling
the BACs with only people who agree with the direction of the school
system is a BAD idea - THEN and NOW."

I agree with you.  I don't think it's right to ask a member to resign because of differences of opinion.  Having seen the effect of a BAC chair and secretary who were openly hostile to their board member, though, I would like to reserve the right for the board member to fire them from those positions.  I would expect it to be extraordinary circumstances for that to happen, though.

Honestly, I don't think that the BAC's have enough power to make this a huge issue.  Also, the terms of individual members are reasonably well staggered anyway.  The terms are for 3 year terms, which is shorter than that of the board member.  Many of the BAC members who are there the first year a board member is elected will be gone within a year or so due to the date of their appointment or attrition due to kids aging out of a particular school.  Also, the board policy on  BACs allows members to be dismissed for lack of attendance.   If that particular rule were enforced more aggressively, there would be a lot more turnover on BAC's.

I also agree with your assessment of Carol Parker.  I thought she was an excellent board member who made an effort to listen to her constituents and others.

learning experience

I don't think that the BAC's have enough power to make this a huge issue

 When the 3 year reassignment plan came out, our neighborhood had to spring into action - it's been a learning experience ever since.  I had had zero dealings w/ WCPSS up to that point - it took a bit of sleuthing to find out about BACs, but once I found Anne Sherron, she was very helpful to our group.  She shared all information, gave us tips on how not to present our case, etc.  She also shared that Leesville was not represented at all in the BAC - our rep was more geared to another section of north raleigh.    It's been a learning experience ever since - but BAC reps hold more power than you think. 

...

Sorry loriac, I disagree -- at least with your example. It is not the BAC role that allowed Ms. Sherron to "hold more power". It is the fact that she served on Dulaney's Student Assignment Committee.  She was providing input to GM on the very assignment your neighborhood was trying to fight. BAC reps do not do that.

BTW, was your neighborhood removed from the plan?

you're right

OK - I still get all these committees mixed up.  

Needless to say, Anne was helpful to us in understanding all this - I forgot there was the SAC.  So - the Leesville area was underrepresented in the SAC, though Anne Sherron did give a warning to Mr. Dulaney about the uproar that would ensue if Brier Creek was moved into Leesville Schools and North Raleigh neighborhoods moved out.  

When the magnet was moved from Broughton to Millbrook HS, that allowed WV to move back to LHS.  However, we were still assigned out of LRMS (because of the logical progression from Jeffrey's Grove Elementary School, which is anything but logical for WV).

 

How were the participants on

How were the participants on Dulaney's Student Assignment Committee chosen...and how were they impacted in the reassignment plan comparable to the rest of us?

Ms. Sherron, can you shed some light on this?

"Honestly, I don't think

"Honestly, I don't think that the BAC's have enough power to make this a huge issue"

oh man, maybe not in your neck of the woods....but surely, SURELY in mine! Wink

Wow, I didn't realize that

Wow, I didn't realize that you had been asked to resign because of the EVAAS issue.  That's a real shame.

I wonder what the board

I wonder what the board would say if they saw, in writing, that the WCPSS renegged on an agreement with a teacher falsley accused of wrong doing. I mean, if the WCPSS said they had completed an investigation, reinstated said teacher, and then inflicted more "consequences" and the newspaper printed those letters, signed and sealed, well, it might make people really question the Esco frakus. Well, ok, say:
1) A teacher is suspended with pay because of something they supposedly did or said....let's just say "comments made in the educational environment"
2) While suspended things disappear from said teachers room. (VIDEO permission forms etc)
3) They (WCPSS) offer to just "drop it" if the teacher simply resigns and goes some place else.
4) The teacher says no, I want my day.
5) Said teacher shows up with two attorneys and answers ALL questions for close to 6 hours with maybe 10% of the questions dealing with "comments in the educational environement" as charged.
6) A friend, mother of a student taught same year with said teacher, tells said teacher that her son was called to the principals office and questioned without any call or other notification from said principal as to the condictions in which her son was questioned.
7) The WCPSS attorney sees not enough evidence to suppprt firing.
8) The WCPSS asks if the teacher will make a list of schools willing to go to.
9) The WCPSS attorney asks same teacher to go back to the school that made the allegations that were not enough to support firing.
10) In the meeting with the Super for HR and same principal (a meeting set to CLEAR THE AIR) who made the allegations and said teacher (with no representation by an attorney) the principal made further accusations in the face of an agreement to cease and dissist all investigations and inflicts further "consequences" based on lies.
9) The super for HR ignores requests by said teacher to investigatw the "further allegations" by said principal.
10) Said principal places, IN WRITING, said further allegations of certain acts.
11) Said teacher aquires signed proof/documentation that said allegations are a bold face LIE by said principal.
12) The WCPSS places said proof in teachers file at teachers request.
13) At a later date WCPSS notifies said teacher that they will remove "said proof" unless teacher requests that it remain.
Keung, if a valid request comes from a school board member that they want to meet with me........please give me their contact information

Say what?

Whatever issue your is  does not have anything to do with BACs.

 

"Another change in the right

"Another change in the right direction. What good is an advisory council if its' members are adversarial toward the board member?"

 

Dictators often need to change their advisor to ensure agreement … personally, I think an adversarial group should represent the schools / area and provide an assessments / feedback of things the BOE is considering or has implemented … getting “yes” men and women only falsely builds up the BOE egos …there are a lot of good ideas above like staggering terms and having at-large rep  which would give some continuity for the community and some corporate history.

There is a huge difference

There is a huge difference in having people willing to debate the pros and cons of an issue and having adversaries that oppose the basic tenents of one's platform.

user, Have you ever been

user,

Have you ever been to a BAC meeting? Just curious.

 

I have not ... I was not

I have not ... I was not even aware of their existance before and only know that there is one per school and they advise the Board, do research, and offer recommendations.  I see them as the "voice" of the school / a sounding board ... not BOE staff who would toe the line ... while a board member would not want someone who hated them, they should want one who understands their school and can keep the board member out of hot water.  Given that the board member and  BAC member both want the best for a school, I woudl imagine most of the time things would line up and is probably the reason for the comments above ..."I love my group"

...

"I have not ..."

Thanks, I didn't think so.

 

So what?  why does it

So what?  why does it matter?  if it does, please share, if not, what is the point of you posting this.

Questions, questions and

Questions, questions and more questions. I am not sure folks have time to teach you WCPSS 101.

you don't have the

you don't have the knowledge. 

She makes a sarcastic comment that I think she thinks is supposed to make some kind of point to everyone but it comes off like something a 5 year old would say "I didn't think so" 

Geez, sideburns, go hang out at a playground since that is what your tone is like (it reminds me of a kid saying nanny nanny boo boo). 

 

She had a point and she made

She had a point and she made her point. Along comes you with the five year old twist and the usual retinue of questions.

what was the point? 

what was the point?  honestly.  she never adds anything, she's even worse than me! :)

Can you compare your

Can you compare your preceding comments, the 15:39 post vs. the 16:01? The former is the usual question format (your posts remind me of Jeopardy in a way) while the latter drops the facile attempt at understanding Sideburns and goes on to reveal your mind. The latter format is more preferable, to me anyway. It moves the dialog further than when receiving apparent rhetorical questions.

...

"...she never adds anything..."

It's really too bad you don't take the time to read some of my posts. I agree they are all not chock full of information but I've made my stance and level of involvement very clear on this blog. You even know my name now (although that, sadly, was not by choice). 

My point (which is fairly obvious) is that user makes comments and comes to conclusions about things in which he has no knowledge. He has never been to a BAC and even claims he knew nothing about them until recently yet he talks about "yes men", "dictators", "corporate history" like he has some inkling how a BAC is run.  

Wasn't it you that said people shouldn't speak about Enloe unless they've been there? I was making the same point about BACs except without a lot of words and questions.

I did not know it was not by

I did not know it was not by choice to know your name - I will stop asking about anything related to that or using your name, sorry about that. 

My point about Enloe was really specifically directed to one blogger who devoted a serious amount of time to their facebook group and kept making pointed comments about them but had not been there. 

I guess I second the question (uh oh I better not ask a question or a Red Balloon will come and bust me in the face Scary!) about what the BACs' purpose is/are and any insight into how they are run would be great.   

That wasn't hard was it! : )

That wasn't hard was it! : ) Asking the right questions in the right way and getting the information will lay a stronger basis for disagreement/ affirmation.

LOL. You have no idea just

LOL. You really have no idea just how ignorant your comments are.

Another change in the right

Another change in the right direction. What good is an advisory council if its' members are adversarial toward the board member?

sounds like the logic Bush,

sounds like the logic Bush, Jr. used, putting his administration together; in contrast, the best leaders welcome healthy debate and consider ALL viewpoints

Bush Jr?

Cool.  If we're bringing up Bush Junior, can this new board be like Obama and blame everything on their predecessors?  They can spend the next year dodging all responsibility for their actions.

"can this new board be like

"can this new board be like Obama and blame everything on their predecessors?"

 they're already doing that

Actually, the new board is

Actually, the new board is not blaming, they are making changes to correct the mess their predecessors left them in.  Huge difference.

it's a difference based on

it's a difference based on semantics; that's what Obama is attempting to do as well

 the true difference: here in Wake county the "mess" is a myth, which was confirmed by the survey results -- but will the BOE majority listen to results that contradict their campaign promises??

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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