WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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Heating it up at schools

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Life could be rough in Wake schools this upcoming school year.

As noted in today's article, the district is looking at some cost-cutting measures that could affect the daily quality of life for students and teachers. Supt. Del Burns said they're at the point now where Central Services (anything not school based) is so "lean" that they can't make further cuts without having a direct impact on the classroom.

“We’re at the point now where it has a direct impact on schools,” Burns told school board members on Thursday. “It has a direct impact on classrooms.”

Go to p. 138 of the budget proposal for some of the energy-saving cuts being considered.

Building temperatures during school hours could be changed by one degree. It's now at 68 degrees in the winter and 74 degrees in the summer. It was already raised one degree this school year.

The temperature for after-school activities such as PTA meetings and athletic events is now supposed to be the same as during school hours. It could be changed by up to five degrees. (The budget says 5 degrees or more but staff says it should have said up to 5 degrees.)

Groups that rent school facilities could see a 60 percent increase in the amount they reimburse Wake for utilities. It's supposed to be the first increase since 2001.

Rosa Gill, chairwoman of the school board, raised concerns that those community groups that use schools are hurting too now. But board member Lori Millberg said they had no choice but to ask them for more.

“If they’re (utility companies) raising rates, how can we afford not to?" Millberg said.

What got a lot of discussion was requiring employees to remove all personal appliances.

"On the surface the single coffeemaker may not seem like much but when you have 9,000 classrooms, there may be a cumulative impact," Burns said.

Burns also warned that the practice of reorganizing classes may now become the norm because the fund balance won't be as much in the upcoming fiscal year to cover teaching positions.

Don't forget the elimination of the contract with Richard Milburn High and other community groups to educate long-term suspended students. Staff wants to save $1.2 million by offering online services to those kids instead.

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user1234--I agree with Eric.

user1234--I agree with Eric. I've not heard ANYBODY say that they expect their kids to go to a school that is within 1.5 miles away or that a 'neighborhood school' is one that close to home.

I made this comment to you in another post but I'm not sure you saw it. I don't think that you're actually listening to what many of us are saying. It seems that you're arguing against the stereotypical image of what you think we must believe. I don't think you're a bad guy and I do think you bring up valid points. But instead of just automatically assuming that none of share any of your same concerns, perhaps you should engage us in a discussion of possible solutions.

“I agree with Eric. I've

“I agree with Eric. I've not heard ANYBODY say that they expect their kids to go to a school that is within 1.5 miles away or that a 'neighborhood school' is one that close to home.”

  

I was eluding to the bill that would guarantee anyone living with in 1.5 miles a seat in that school.  So, I took 1.5 miles radius as being the ultimate “neighborhood school”.  Given that a majority of kids live within six miles of their school now there appears to be a disconnect between what parent consider “neighborhood” and what the WCPSS considers “neighborhood”.    I believe that is the crux of much of the conflict personally.  I know someone will find a ghetto kid bussed 12 miles some where but for the majority of the kids that is not the case.

  

Reference 

http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/legislating-neighborhood-schools

 Under S218, students who live within 1.5 miles of a school would either have to be assigned there or get a voucher to help pay for the cost of attending a private school. 

A 1.5 mile radius around a

A 1.5 mile radius around a school is a non-transport zone where bus transportation may not be provided, depending upon the safety of the walking conditions.  It makes sense to me that if you live within the state-defined walking zone of a school that you should be able to attend that school.

 

I can find you a couple bus loads

"I know someone will find a ghetto kid bussed 12 miles some where"

I'm personally not a fan of the term ghetto, but I assume you mean a kid from a high ED area. 

I can find you a couple bus loads at my school, which is around 35% ED. That's right they are traveling 12 miles and an hour one way to a borderline Title I school. Next year they are being reassigned and will be going somewhere closer to your six mile distance.

It is what happens to students like these that troubles me the most about WCPSS. Why have these kids been traveling 12 miles to a non-magnet with a higher ED% than most magnets and other ED kids are able to attend magnets? Why is this disparity OK with people who support the "diversity" policy?

 “It is what happens to

 “It is what happens to students like these that troubles me the most about WCPSS. Why have these kids been traveling 12 miles to a non-magnet with a higher ED% than most magnets and other ED kids are able to attend magnets? Why is this disparity OK with people who support the "diversity" policy?”

  

I would agree with you … that would be a specific example I would press the BOE to answer.   With 132k kids, I am betting the computer makes some mistakes / misjudgements trying to fill all the seats.   Humans need to intervene.  I doubt anyone really cared about these kids anyway.  

 

Look at want MacGregor Downs did for their 25 kids to keep them at Apex HS (2 miles) vs. Athens (6 miles) [http://macgregordownsschools.wordpress.com/media/ ]  They appeared on TV 8 times pleading their case.  I am guessing your “couple of bus load” never had a chance to plead their case.  Unless I misunderstood you, it sounds like the new reassignment plan will get them closer to home.

Sorry, I should have been more clear

Sorry, it was getting late last night and I should have included that these kids are taking the 12 mile trip due to opting out of their base low performing MYR school, so it was not a computer mistake that they are at our school. It is that our school was a better option than their base school. So some ED kids are assigned to magnets and some are assigned to low performing MYRs - what ever happened to equal opportunity?

Yes, my understanding is that for 2009-10 they are base assigned to a traditional school that mets AYP closer to home, which hopefully will benefit them. I do not know to what level parents in that area got involved in the assignment plans.

 

more Lori=equally BAD treatment

comment made by Ms Lori Millberg back in the Wake Weekly of 2006 -
“Leesville and Wakefield parents may feel like they’ve dodged a bullet,” she said, “but when reassignment comes out, they’re not going to feel (that way),” she said.

For those of you who'd like the whole article here's the link:
http://www.wakeweekly.com/2006/Sept21-3.html

another Lori "classic"

Comment from: Angela [Visitor]
04/22/08 at 19:18

"We've asked them before," said school board member Lori Millberg. "Why would we assume they're not giving consent this year?"

BECAUSE MS. Millberg, perhaps you have people who have "tried" having their families ripped apart into two schedules and have decided after a year of he$$ to STOP THE MADNESS AND OPT OUT, you fool.

I think she should be FORCED,

by the BAR ASSOC., to turn in her law degree.  SHOULD she ever want to practice again I do not think she is fit!

EMAIL

Between that and the junk food their parents buy them, there is only so much we can do about that pesky obesity problem.We have made no suggestion that taxes be raised during this difficult time.

Sincerely,Lori B. Millberg

Wake County Board of EducationDistrict 1

I have ahrad time following some of your emails and the conversations get way off base but please tell methat this lady really did NOT write this.She is my board memember contact and this bothers me.

My favorite Lori Millberg quotes

There are more things that Ms. Millberg has said that bother me. Here are some things she said as reported by Mr. Hui from the N&O that bother me (emphasis added). 

[1/12/2009 - School board member Lori Millberg agreed that magnet schools should continue offering unique programs. She said magnet schools provide equality because all students can apply to attend them.]

[2/20/2009 - School board member Lori Millberg was the most vocal about changing the process to make sure magnet schools are recruiting from "the right schools."][3/4/2009 - The data showing the base schools for the applicants got the ire of some school board members. For instance, 228 of this year's magnet applicants had Knightdale High as their base school.

"We're getting applicants from the schools we least want them from," said school board member Lori Millberg.]

So according to Ms. Millberg magnets provide equality because every one can apply, but they only want applications from the "right" or "wanted" schools. Ms. Millberg may want to look up the meanings of equality and equal. Magnets would provide equality only if all applicants had an equal chance of acceptence, which they do not. Those from "not right" schools have a < 10% chance of acceptence.

I guess those who have been assigned by WCPSS to the "not right" and "unwanted" schools can console themselves and their children with some junk food bon bons.

“Between that and the

“Between that and the junk food their parents buy them, there is only so much we can do about that pesky obesity problem.”

 

Why do you find this concern unusual?  People today have given up much parental responsibility and demand the schools do everything - teach their kids, feed their kids, coach them in sports, drive them back and forth, test them, make sure they have their shots, know about sex, etc.

 

So, if schools are being blamed sometimes for obesity because they cut out PE, have limited sports, still server dessert, and don’t provide safe routes to walk to school while absent parents sabotage any gain by feed kids junk food while watching TV, I could see how the school system might politely call that “pesky”

she did write this -

I found it hard to believe too.  I will be glad to forward you a copy of the email.

No doubt Millberg email is genuine

I have no doubt the email from Lori Millberg is genuine. If she didn't write it, she certainly would have written it with the same facts and justifications.

CMS does spend more than WCPSS, but most of that is federal Title I funds since CMS has almost twice the poverty rate of WCPSS. Looking at the school report cards on ncreportcards.org, CMS gets $265 more per student than WCPSS in federal funds. $265 x 134,000 students = $36 million. That explains the discrepancy right there.

Also, I have heard CMS spends more on transportation than WCPSS (although I don't have the numbers to verify this), but that is because WCPSS takes "short cuts" on transportation such as only providing express busing to many magnet schools. CMS also provides for parental school choice in more circumstances, further adding to transportation expenses.

I know most students go to a school within 5 miles of their home in WCPSS, but I would like to see numbers on how many times the average student is reassigned and how many times the reassignment is due to F&R balancing vs. growth.

The comments on walk zones from Ms. Millberg are particularly galling to me. Transportation seems to assume 1.5 miles around the school is always safe to walk without doing proper checks on walking safety conditions. This year at Sycamore Creek transportation told parents it was safe for their kids to walk to school along two lane sections of Leesville Rd. with no sidewalks. Anyone who lives in our area knows this is insane, but Ms. Millberg prefers to blame parents by telling them to put down the potato chips. The nerve!

“I know most students go

“I know most students go to a school within 5 miles of their home in WCPSS, but I would like to see numbers on how many times the average student is reassigned and how many times the reassignment is due to F&R balancing vs. growth.”

 

I thought in a previous article, Mr. Hui said 1/3 was diversity and 2/3 growth.   It never hit me before that people had tightened the definition of “neighborhood” a 1.5 radius since I grew up in a county system with only a few schools and a good distance between them.  Maybe that comes as more people moving here from the higher densities Northeast (e.g. NT, CN, MA)

 

“The comments on walk zones from Ms. Millberg are particularly galling to me. Transportation seems to assume 1.5 miles around the school is always safe to walk without doing proper checks on walking safety conditions. Anyone who lives in our area knows this is insane, but Ms. Millberg prefers to blame parents by telling them to put down the potato chips.”

 

It seems the town should be responsible for providing safe access to schools.  They provide the roads, stop signs, crosswalks, speed limits and they need to consider pedestrian traffic too.

 

Here is a group that lobbies for safe routes to school and has information on federal funding to help.

 

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/

Nobody has called a

Nobody has called a neighborhood a 1.5 mile radius around a school.  That is merely the NC statutory definition of a "non-transport zone" within which school districts are not obligated to provide bus transportation to students.

I agree that most of the responsibility for providing a safe walking environment for pedestrians should lie with the city (or county if outside of city limits) and not the school district.  That being said, WCPSS policy states that if there is not a safe walking path for kids to get to school (remember, we're talking about kids as young as 5 years old) then hazard bus transportation is provided. 

Thanks for the Safe Routes to School link.  I chaired a PTA committee at Sycamore Creek that partnered with the City of Raleigh Public Works Department and submitted a Safe Routes infrastructure grant proposal this past January.  Hopefully we'll win the grant and improve walking conditions for our kids so that next time WCPSS takes away the buses, we'll have a safe route to get to school.

Um

Not to throw off this argument with a fact, but the date of the article about the cost of fuel blowing the budget was dated last June, when gas was close to $2 more per gallon than it is now.

It is frightening to me that they are talking about raising/lowering temps and stopping personal coffee pot use. I think the last thing they want to do is get rid of jobs, but that's coming. Mr. Misegades, I'm SHOCKED at your referring to the days of corporal punishment in the classroom with anything like nostalgia or longing. Sure, it's easier to beat a kid into submission than to take the high road, but I thought most intelligent people were in agreement that it's best not done in schools. And I question your research abilities if you cannot find proof that smaller class sizes work better -- for the kids. I thought you were involved with Thales Academy. Are you telling me there are 30-40 kids per class there?

To be fair

Fuel prices have historical charts. Take the average fuel costs of the periods and divide the totals by the price. It will give an approximation of total fuel. The usage of fuel is a better indicator of how the plan increased relative costs. My gut feel tells me the last run-up in fuel prices was due to sinister forces, not true market values, I don't think we'll see those prices again until inflation hits big (and it will).

Be aware some research into smaller classroom size  shows a significant improvement for only up to 4th grade.

Busing Costs

I emailed the Board and got the following response.

My question - why keep comparing us to everyone else? If everyone else is doing a bad job, what does it matter if ours is only a little better? (or worse depending on how you look at it). What matters is how our kids do and our policies.

 My email: I am writing you to ask that you stop and actually consider that spending millions and millions on busing children all over the county in this current climate is not the best use of tax payer money. Stop busing for busing sake. It is a waste of time and money and needs to end now.

Cut the pay of the administrators, better yet cut some of the administrators.

We need schools close to where we live. Let the kids go to the school closest to them. Walk if they are within a mile of school, it will help with that pesky childhood obesity problem too. You cannot raise taxes on people who are unemployed and don't have any money to begin with.

Thank you for your time.

From Lori Millberg:"It is simply a myth that Wake County spends millions on transportation as a result of our diversity policy. In fact, Wake County spends significantly less on transportation than Charlotte Mecklenburg (CMS) despite the fact that they have done exactly what you recommend. Just last year CMS spent more than $20 million dollars more than Wake County to get similar but inferior results. Wake County also spent less per pupil than Forsyth, Guilford, Durham or Orange Counties. In fact, of the 114 school districts in North Carolina, Wake spent less per pupil than 75 of them and still significantly outperformed the state average on almost every academic measure.

The bottom line is that 88% of our total operating budget is already spent in the individual schools. Only 12% is spent on Auxillary Services, Instructional Services, Administrative Services and Technology Services. It is impossible to run a $1.7 billion dollar a year business and be the counties second largest employer with out some central services. We can’t take a 5% cut to our total budget without touching that 88% being spent in schools.

The fact is that the VAST majority of Wake County students do go to a school that is within 5 miles of their home. Each school has a mile and a half walk zone around it, but you may surprised how many parents complain about it. In a number of cases, at the parents request we are providing bus service within that mile and half radius because of safety reasons. In fact, many parents not only won’t allow their kids to walk to school, they drive them to the bus stop. Between that and the junk food their parents buy them, there is only so much we can do about that pesky obesity problem.We have made no suggestion that taxes be raised during this difficult time.

Sincerely,Lori B. Millberg

Wake County Board of EducationDistrict 1

Mr Hui - can you put the authenticity at rest

At least one individual thinks this is fake. In fairness to Ms. Millberg, I think you should give her a chance to set the record straight. If it is real, I sure Ms. Millberg will say so. If she says it is not, srHudson06 could forward you with the original email to counter with the computer fingerprint to prove it.

Who would you like me to forward it to?

I only posted because I could not believe what I was reading.  I am glad to forward this to Mr. Hui.. just let me know.

Forwarded original emails to Mr. Hui.

The emails in question have been forwarded to Mr. Hui. 

Thanks, I didn' t think it was a hoax

SupportWCPSS has drunken so much Kool-aid she refuses to believe that any BoE member (except Ron) could put such an outrageous distortion of the truth. I should note you are lucky even to get a reply.

SupportWCPSS, since you thought this was a fake, I can deduce that even you thought the e-mail was filled with incorrect data. Amazing!

this is a fake

And of course you believed it...

How do you know?  I would

How do you know?  I would think a person could get into serious trouble falsifying statements by others.  And fake or not, the statement would seem to be in keeping with Ms. Millbus's numerous statements.

 

NO Horace Eleanor Lori Patti !!!!!

Thanks for posting

Thanks for posting this.

A great, informative response to your inquiry.  The "Vast" majority of Wake County students live within 5 miles of several schools within their given grade level.  A pity that Ms. Millbus does not address the fact that parents are being sent to different schools every year within that 5-mile range.

BTW, Ms. Millbus is full of it when she says Wake County outperformed the 'majority' of other districts -- I have the WEP charts to prove that is false (unless, of course, WEP is full of it)

Cary ... I agree with you

Cary ... I agree with you the constant movement within the 5 miles is poor long range planning .... and Angela I rode the bus probably an hour each way as it moved around the county picking up kids .... for me, I just did my homework each way so I could play when I got home ... I never saw the bus ride as a big impact on my life ...

Thanks for posting this …

Thanks for posting this … it dispels many misconceptions … I think Ms. Millberg hits one of the main issue right on the head that the “VAST majority of Wake Students do go to a school that is within 5 miles of their home.”   People’s perception of “neighborhood school is now down to 1.5 mile radius” while the WCPSS defines “neighborhood” to five miles.   My schools were all at least five miles away growing up so my concept of “neighborhood” is broader than the 1.5 mile radius people expect now.

....and you walked up hill

....and you walked up hill BOTH ways.....in the snow....

Good thing the ignorance of Lori

Millberg will be gone come October!

"Between the BS she serves up and the fact that it's ALWAYS the parent's fault, there is only so much we can tolerate"

And come October we aren't tolerating it any longer!

g88ky07 .. by than there may

g88ky07 .. by than there may only be a shell left of a school system ... your team better be miracle workers to pull this one out ... it is likely the next team will need to consolidate schools, cut teachers, raise class size, dump Sports, Special Ed, etc. which will make them even more unpopular .......

We've played the shell game

loooooong enough, so I would say there's only a shell left now!  Moving kids around under the shells of busing to hide scores and waste tax payers $$ is nothing new in Wake County!  This school board has been doing it long before I ever arrived!

Granted things won't be easy going forward, for ANYONE, but continuing to play the shell game of "diversity" simply can't continue. 

And it won't!!!!!

questioning the legitimacy

first, then ask her to explain this (from WCPSS)

Transportation Department staff compared the monthly cost for July &
August 2006 with the same months in 2007 to estimate a difference in
cost for transportation of year-round students. For July & August
2006, the average cost for each of the 2 months was $232,000 and for
2007, $472,000."

Additionally,

"Ms Lee, my understanding is that the costs were the actual costs for
system-wide transportation for the two months. Thus, the data would
show the cost for transportation for the schools in session in
July/August 2006 as compared with those in 2007; those months were
selected because most of the buses would be for multi-track schools."

In other words, the system-wide transportation expenses just during
the combined two months of July and August more than doubled this
school year, rising from close to half a million dollars ($464,000)
in 2006 to close to a million ($944,000) in 2007.

secondly;

 Between that and the junk food their parents buy them, there is only so much we can do about that pesky obesity problem

SERIOUSLY????????  what kind of crap is that?

fuel costs

Mr. Hui, I was unable to attend the BoE work session. Did they discuss transportation costs (fuel, capital outlay, drivers) at all?

As you stated your 6/25/08 article, 'Fuel Costs Melt Down School Budgets,"

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/education/story/1119503.html 

the State funds fuel expenditures for WCPSS buses, yet when fuel reached $4.00/gallon WCPSS had to use $2 million from it's rainy day fund to pay the excess costs.

Fuel usage is a controllable expense. One way WCPSS could help the state deal with the current budget shortfall is to examine ALL expenses associated with Transportation. Evaluate and recommend cost saving changes based on the current ridership (57%), the routes, length of routes and load efficiency (express busing for magnets).

Growth Management should be involved in this evaluation as they are in the best situation to identify empty seats at schools. GM can be the 'budget saving heros' this month as they review CALENDAR choice applications. GM's decisions can increase the overall efficiency and fiscal responsibility of WCPSS by granting acceptance to ALL families, regardless of income, that VOLUNTARILY want to fill empty seats in the classroom and on buses.

school declines

During my morning carpool news talk 680 had a blurb on indicating today's Rush Limbaugh show will cover the decline of education across the nation and how elected officials are approaching this problem. Might be worth a listen if it doesn't make your blood pressure go up too high.

has this dried up as well?

Article 32C.

Fund for the Reduction of Class Size in Public Schools.

§ 115C‑472.10. Establishment of the Fund for the Reduction of Class Size in Public Schools.

(a) There is established under the control and direction of the State Board of Education the Fund for the Reduction of Class Size in Public Schools. This fund shall be a nonreverting special revenue fund consisting of moneys credited to it under G.S. 20‑81.12(b12) from the sale of special registration plates to support the public schools.

(b) The State Board of Education shall allocate funds in the Fund for the Reduction of Class Size in Public Schools to local school administrative units to reduce class size in public schools. (2000‑159, s. 8.)

Unions love this

Teacher unions love smaller class sizes. Is there however conclusive evidence that they bring the desired results, improved ROI?  Does the taxpayer come out ahead in the form of adults with an improved education/income/tax payments that offset the higher cost of hiring more teachers?

In the mid 60s and ealy 70s in the (post-desegregated) public schools I attended in KY and AL, we never had fewer than 30 children in a classroom. Sometimes classes were in large halls with 100 or more children. We also didn't have hoards of teacher assistants and parent vounteers in the classrooms. But we still had paddles hanging in every classroom, therefore discipline was never an issue. Perhaps reasons our schools were far less expensive and we learned much more than the current generation. But then, most kids had their own Dad and Mom to go home to at night, too.

http://www.heros-inc.org/new

http://www.heros-inc.org/new-fact.pdf

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=8623

http://social.jrank.org/pages/959/Teachers-Teaching-Smaller-Class-Sizes-Consequences.html

Is three enough or do you want the links to the hundreds of  studies that show class size matters.

I am trying to be politer but Ken your asinine remarks are making it hard. By the way your not helping Thales reputation at all.

“But we still had paddles

“But we still had paddles hanging in every classroom, therefore discipline was never an issue.” Those were simpler times :-)

 

With so many companies going under and people losing their homes I guess we should be looking back to see what they did in the Great Depression to get by.   Maybe we need to pull out all stops / have a fall back plan to eliminating all transportation and kids have to find their own way to school if they want an education, drop everything that is not related to a student / a teacher / a classroom (e.g. all sports, awards, plays, band, federal and state reporting, school police, etc.), don’t buy any new books, only offer Math/English/Science classes, graduate kids out at 16 and increase class size to 30+ until we get spending in line with the diminished revenue. 

 

Things appear to be getting worse each day and we probably need to determine what are the bare-bones, core “education” activities we can survive with given the present and developing circumstances.

well.....

certain parents love this as well!  I know personally from what I see each week that it only takes ONE disruptive child to cause an entire class disruption, ONE child to cause an ENTIRE class to suffer the consequences, this idea of "peer pressure" mentality when it comes to discipline is for the birds, as far as *I* am concerned.

I'd love to see smaller class sizes, especially in kindergartens and the lower grades if only so it would allow more EDUCATION than crowd control which is what it amounts to with 23+ five year olds in a classroom!

While I certainly don't condone the old-fashioned way of "paddling" I most certainly DO condone more discipline in the classrooms.  If I do not allow my own children to speak to me in certain ways, why must I put up with it from other students when I am there on MY OWN TIME to help/tutor them?

Peer Pressure

I love the "Peer Pressure" concept.  When I was growing up, the peer pressure I felt was uniformly negative, and I grew up in a relatively affluent area.  The good kids typically egg the bad kids on.  The idea that "peer pressure" can be used to make misbehaving kids shape up is absurd.  It sounds like something thought up by some professor of education who has never seen the inside of an actual "real world" classroom.

 

A 3rd Graders Perspective

From the mouth of my 3rd grader yesterday:

"Mom, did you ever notice that when you are playing sports, the "good kids" get the most attention and praise and everyone wants to be like them?  BUT in school it's the kids who behave badly who get all of the attention and everyone else just has to sit quietly and stay busy so the teachers can take care of those who are causing trouble?  And, the kids who behave badly even get rewards just for not "being so bad" when they should be punished for that behavior instead."

Makes you wonder....

Absolutely Right

I have rarely seen peer pressure work for the positive when every member is out for themselves (like school). When it is positive is when people work as a team for a common goal. Maybe football, but not school since the student's goal is individual achievement. Peer pressure in schools is almost always negative except in extracurricular activities.

budget question

does any know or remember just WHO pays for all these "school transport" cars I see? there are 5-6 a day with only one student at our middle school, i.e Lucas Transport, etc.
why is this provided and who pays for it?

My assumption was that the

My assumption was that the parents paid for this service rather than putting their children on a bus or driving the children themselves.  Do we know that WCPSS actually pays for this service?

Special Ed. transports

Louise Lee may have the costs associated with this since she had requested transportantion information for the MYR summer months.  At our school these cars typically transport only one special ed student per car--that has to be expensive.  I don't know if there is a stipulation that they ride alone, and I don't know if the transportation dept. get reimbursed from the federal authorities for these costs. 

good point, I will check

good point, I will check with her although it would appear that they only referred to busing; (info provided courtesy of Louise Lee)

"Transportation Department staff compared the monthly cost for July &
August 2006 with the same months in 2007 to estimate a difference in
cost for transportation of year-round students. For July & August
2006, the average cost for each of the 2 months was $232,000 and for
2007, $472,000."

Additionally,

"Ms Lee, my understanding is that the costs were the actual costs for
system-wide transportation for the two months. Thus, the data would
show the cost for transportation for the schools in session in
July/August 2006 as compared with those in 2007; those months were
selected because most of the buses would be for multi-track schools."

In other words, the system-wide transportation expenses just during
the combined two months of July and August more than doubled this
school year, rising from close to half a million dollars ($464,000)
in 2006 to close to a million ($944,000) in 2007.

this is what I found so far, need to re-check for more info

The state law is a max of 29 for grades 4-9. Studies show that student-centered instruction happens when the number is 24 and below.
Middle school and high schools get blanket waivers which are attached to their school improvement plans, up for renewal every 3 years. Call your schools and ask when the SIP is being rewritten.
Get in touch with the PTA and teachers and talk to them about the class sizes and waivers. Make them understand the staff and the parents have a powerful voice in writing the plan. If the SIP does not include the waiver, then the school has to figure out another way to deal with the class sizes.
Get in touch with Scott Douglass at sdouglas@dpi.state.nc.us and complain about your school's class sizes.
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/sbehighlights/2008/01highlights.html

Individual Class Size Waiver Requests (TCS 5) – Class size waiver requests submitted by Clinton City Schools and Wake County Schools were approved. Wake County Schools, however, is to provide a detailed report to the Board by Feb. 11 that includes a description of how the school district notified parents of children in classes that exceed the class size limit, why they denied parent requests for transfer, action they will take during 2007-08 to mitigate the impact of class size overages on students’ educational opportunities, and a detailed corrective action plan that describes how the school system will reduce class sizes in 2008-09 to eliminate overages. In approving Wake’s waiver requests, Board members noted the extenuating circumstances of a court challenge and mid-summer decision regarding student assignment to year-round schools as factors in their decision.

Just another ignoramus solution!

Do they REALLY think not brewing coffee, turning the temps up or down a degree, is going to make a difference!?  With the massive $$ issues at hand??

What happens when summer is 100+ again this year?  What happens when diesel goes back to $4+ a gallon, as it will? 

They are going to HAVE To halt the bussing and whether or not they can take their _amn tunnel vision blinders off long enough to see that is doubtful!

Someone who is much more in-tune with the facts on class size please remind us, what is the current limit, aren't they already over that # in many classes now, aren't they in hot water for asking twice, recently I think, to increase, and is this something they can just wave their wand at and do with no repercussions or accountability??

Hey, this economy is whacking us all over the head and sure things have to be re-thought, changed, altered, worked around, but this school system is crumbling ALL around our feet and turning off a few coffee pots, I doubt 9,000 are operating, is that the best solution we can come up with??  Do they REALLY think they can continue the bussing in mass and all the waste that goes with that?  Are they too flippin' stupid to see THAT!!?? 

Don't answer, I already know.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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