The blue plan has emerged as the early favorite to be Wake County's new student assignment plan but there are questions about how it would work.
As noted in today's article, it's uncertain how much all the various base choices will impact transportation costs. It's also uncertain how much they'll be able to get low-performing students to attend higher performing schools.
School officials don't know how much transportation costs could change with families getting multiple base options to choose from. Also add in the fact that you still have magnet school choices.
Superintendent Tony Tata said that, based on what's happened in other districts using choice plans, 80 percent of families will choose their closest school. He said this could result in some transportation efficiencies over current costs.
One thing they're weighing is how much usage of neighborhood busing as opposed to express busing.
Another wild card is how well they'll carry out their goals of avoiding creating pockets of low-performing schools and maintaining the current number of magnet seats. A big answer to that will come in how families of low-performing students make their choices.
Every family in the county would get an "achievement choice," meaning a school in the top third of that grade span based on test scores and the concentration of highly effective teachers.
Tata said they're not going to designate any magnet school as an achievement choice in order to preserve the application seats there.
For low-performing students, Tata said they're looking at offering them two achievement choices. By excluding magnets, you could offer Southeast Raleigh families two achievement choices out of their area.
Of course, it's uncertain whether the Southeast Raleigh families will still opt for their closest schools anyway.
Wake could get some answers to the transportation and school selection issues soon. Tata said they'll soon "game" the blue plan by inviting parents to simulate what they'd do.
Based on what the parents do in the simulation, Tata said they'll develop the "business rules" they'd adopt for the blue plan.
No other details are being provided now about the simulation, including how families will be asked to participate.
But with all these questions, supporters of the blue plan are touting benefits such as greater choice and no fear of future reassignments.
Enrollment caps would be used to keep schools from being too crowded with applicants being given a lower-ranked school which has the space.
Instead of reassigning students to fill new schools, it would only be populated by people who choose to attend. Now this could result in some really underpopulated new schools in the beginning.