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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Looking at the draft 2013-14 Wake County student assignment maps

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The Wake County school system should eventually post higher-resolution images of the maps than what's now online for the draft 2013-14 student assignment plan.

But for those who don't want to wait, you can look at the following files that I've broken up into three groups. The color-coded shading should be easier to view on the maps.

Click here to view the maps and nodes for the elementary schools in the plan. Click here to view the maps and nodes for the middle schools. Click here to view the maps and nodes for the high schools.

The school district is also planning to later post online the presentation on the plan being made at today's school board work session.


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One more for you Keung..

Many of those low-income nodes will go back to being base-assigned to schools in the suburbs. If those families chose to attend a proximate school under the Choice plan, it is possible that they will have to go back on the feeder pattern under the base assignment plan (long distance) if the Board decides not to provide transportation to their choice plan feeder patterns, right?

Yep.  The plan doesn't

Yep.  The plan doesn't guarantee transportation if a family opts to use the choice plan feeder over their base plan feeder.


Keung, if parents want to grandfather at their current school (if it's not their address-based assignment), they do nothing?

Yep. The initial assignment

Yep. The initial assignment slips that will go out in January will roll everyone forward in their current school to the next grade. This means the default assumption is you intend to stay in your non-base school. If you want to return to base you should file a request during the base declaration period.

The only non-base families who need to act if they're not changing schools are those who've got a younger sibling who wants to enrol in their older sibling's school for kindergarten or sixth-grader or ninth-grade. They would need to file a request in the first transfer period that's supposed to be guaranteed for approval.

The initial assignment slips, when a student is moving on the next grade level, would roll them back to their base middle school or high school. They'd have to apply to stay in the magnet program or file during the early transfer period if they want to keep the non-magnet non-base feeder.

new schools are never a big problem

for parents, it is being moved into an under enrolled low income school that is always the problem. They are doing this in a way that is going to cause chaos because they have not informed parents of their 2013 assignments yet. Too many parents are unaware that returning to the 2011 plan means reassignment from where they are right now - maybe 10% of parents are listening and get it right now. You have to give them absolutes - here is where your kids are assigned next year.  Then they listen and  respond.

In the past parents were informed BEFORE community engagement meetings. This time they will be informed after the meetings. This is going to blow up in their face about the same time that the GOP hits their stride (February-April).

Again, where have these people been living for the past decade? And do they really think that the GOP is going to sit by silently while they disrupt the county with another wave of unnecessary reassignments? It is going to be so ugly next year.

The fact that the vast

The fact that the vast majority of students can grandfather means this is not as big of a reassignment plan as people are saying it is. Even most of those ~1500 students who are being "reassigned" can remain in their current school. There is not even much of a reassignment in physical addresses, as the board went back to the maps which were in plan before the choice plan. The only addresses which are really being reassigned are due to the opening of new schools, and if people didn't understand the possibility of that happening to them when they moved to Wake County, then they are just ignorant or in denial. This particular "reassignment" is VERY small and is not unfair (in my opinion) in any way.*

*I do realize that 2014-2015 could be a completely different story......

2014-15 will be a completely different story

Please do not buy into the farce they are currently selling. They have kept this initial reassignment low on purpose. To keep parents off guard, as is usually the case, so that when they whip out the big reassignment for '14-'15 they hope few will notice. Also to help their hope that just enough will ok the next bond.  Won't happen.

My bet, as has been hinted at, the NEW Governor and General Assembly will make big changes before then.

Rendering Hill, Martin, Evans and that other person, I can't ever remember his/her name, wonder why,


I am one of thousands of parents whose children are being

reassigned by moving backwards to the 2011 base assignment. We chose to put our kids at our second most proximate ES and MS, schools that are at capacity and thus fully funded. The 2011 plan moves us back to our 5th most proximate ES and MS, schools that are under enrolled and under funded. There are thousands of families like mine.

This is reassigment, plain and simple.

Also, please realize that when they do their 2014 plan to get schools within 10% of each other that is a massive reassignment similar to 2009's 24,000 child move. But at that point the GOP will have put their changes in place and it won't happen.

This is going nowhere, and all the while we have REAL problems that we are ignoring.

I guess I don't understand.

I guess I don't understand. It's not reassignment if A - your kids can stay where they are and B - your address was never really "moved" to another school in the first place, only your children were. Your address may be technically reassigned, but only back to what it was in the first place. My address is also going back to what it was before the choice plan (I also have a very poorly performing base school), but I don't consider that a reassignment.

When children are being moved from one school to another

that is a reassignment. We can and will grandfather.

It does not change the fact that our kids are being reassigned from a fully funded school with 20 clubs, band and orchestra and foreign language to a school with none of the above. My neighbors in our surrounding nodes will not go.

OK - we will have to agree

OK - we will have to agree to disagree. I say your kids are not being moved because they can grandfather, you say they are even though they are grandfathering. Either way, I am sorry you are unhappy. My base school is one of the worst in the county and also has no special programs, so I understand the frustration. I just don't view it as a reassignment.

the question is why should the BOE

get to dictate that some of us have to go to struggling schools and some of us get to go to thriving schools. The goal should be to understand why schools are struggling and fix them. Children can't fix a school, only adults can fix a school. Tony was fixing schools. Parents were chosing to return to these schools early in the process of fixing them - it was literally as if the promise of making them better did make them better.

You and I are arguing semantics while there are real problems that are being ignored.


And those who are favored to attend the thriving schools (magnets) have the rules stacked in their favor such that they will always be able to attend those schools.  The rest have to fight for the few spots that might open up.  Many will vote with their feet, and the downward spiral that Mr. Tata was beginning to reverse, will pick up where it left off.

I agree with all of that.

I agree with all of that. The interesting piece will come when the First Transfer period results come in. I will be trying to transfer my rising-kindergartener to a school that is not our base and am planning on choosing a solid but maybe a little under-enrolled school to increase our chances (like Brier Creek). If there are spaces available and I am willing to provide transportation, then they should let me attend that school -- we will see how that plays out.

Yes, I am wondering how they

Yes, I am wondering how they will handle the transfer requests. I've not seen priorities for how they will handle transfer requests. Unless I'm not remembering correctly--that's happening more as I get older. lol

If there are more applicants than seats at popular schools, how will they choose? Will they let you out of your underenrolled Title 1 school or will they hold you hostage?

Same thing with schools that become fully capped

If a school becomes fully capped during the base declaration period due to more requests to return to base than seats available, how do they determine who gets back in? It looks like there are a lot of schools currently in the "partially capped" category where that could happen.  Are there any priorities like with magnet and first transfer periods, or just a random lottery?

The priorities for the

The priorities for the transfer periods and magnet programs are in the document. Click here.

Thanks Keung. So no criteria

Thanks Keung. So no criteria based on 'balancing' at this point. Interesting. I just have a hard time trusting that this board won't add some. Especially if they see trends in families leaving certain schools.

Have they defined "severely overcrowded" yet?

During the work session

During the work session Martin asked that they add a priority for students in low-performing nodes who request a Regional Choice (or whatever they call them this go-round).

Thanks. I do remember him

Thanks. I do remember him saying that. I did notice that they all seemed to be interchanging low performing node with low perf school quite a bit. I think I remember somebody, maybe Kushner or S Evans saying that they needed to make that clear.

So if a school has 20 spots

So if a school has 20 spots available before it becomes fully capped and 40 people apply to return to base then it would become fully capped during the base declaration period and a seat is not guaranteed.  Do they have a random lottery for which 20 return, or do they turn them all down and make them enter the transfer period and use those priorities?


GOP Changes?  You mean changes made by the General Assembly?  

my speculation

not hard fact. There are a million and one ways the GOP can change our schools, we have all speculated about what they will do. Some theories I have heard are mild, others are extreme. Either way, I don't think I will have to worry about my children being shoved into an under enrolled/under funded school, regardless of what the BOE thinks I should do.

It's next year that we need

It's next year that we need to worry about. Martin and Kushner have both said they want to balance the schools so they are within +/- 10 percentage points of the county average of having students assigned from "low achievement" nodes.

this is like a bad relationship

Remember getting back together with someone after you broke up once? It did not work the first time and it isn't going to work the second time.

Stay Where You Start

How do you think the "Stay Where You Start" policy will impact the 2013-14 plan?  There are certainly limitations with regard to capacity that affect student assignment in our school system, but I think the SWYS policy is a positive step. 

only positive for the individual families

that don't have to move - this is a disaster for the Title I schools who will be worse off when families don't show up.

Had Tony stayed these schools would be strengthened over the next year with continued teacher and leadership changes and improved professional development and programming. He changed the flow of money and released Title I money that the county was illegally hoarding. They would have continued to increase in their desirability and families would have chosen to come back in even greater numbers than last year. Tony's approach was giving us that 'balance' that everyone is so crazy about, but it was through choice not force.

Martin refers to them as boutique schools and Kushner and Evans see them as a threat to the magnets because turning away 50% of applicants to magnets is not good enough, it needs to be 90% of applicants to make them happy.

My husband and I have made the decision that if we get forced reassignment back to an under enrolled school we will pull our kids out of the system. Done and done. I am washing my hands of the whole screwed up mess. Luckily we will have a ton of new, fully funded charters to choose from by then, thanks to the democrats in Wake.

I don't understand

My husband and I have made the decision that if we get forced reassignment back to an under enrolled school we will pull our kids out of the system.

I don't understand why you keep using this language?  You can stay where you are.

Read more here: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/looking-at-the-draft-2013-14-wake-county-student-assignment-maps#new#storylink=cpy

Thank you Step

Snordone's assignment issues are past issues, not current ones.  She is not giving this board credit for their work done to date.

What work done to date?

Kill Choice Plan; fire Tata contrary to majority of community's wishes; tell fellow members to shut the f up; tell staff to go back to old maps because this BOE had no clear vision for a plan and path forward; talk about moving early release to Wednesday; ask to have priority for certain nodes to regional choice schools, which don't even exist under this board's new old plan. Sorry, those things are not work. What actual work have they done?

Work is having a vision for how to land before you jump off the cliff. Work is understanding all the ramifications of your actions like firing Tata and killing the choice plan and understanding the limitations of your new old plan. Work is controlling your behavior and remaining professional and holding yourself accountable when you don't. Work is understanding the past and finding new solutions, not repeating the same mistakes.

The "current" plan is a ONE year plan. It don't mean much.

Work done to date?

Such as firing a perfectly capable person to run this disastrous school system? Such as lying to the public with their lowwwwwwww reassignment numbers for next year and acting like the following year won't exist? Such as wasting more time on assignment that they spend on anything else? Such as supporting the biggest Pansy to ever be the chair on that board? Such as downplaying the facts before them that the public will not support their bond, no matter how long they put it off?

Yeah, they're working their panties off aren't they.



Clearly I am alone in my assessment of this current situation. The rest of the county is all good......


When are we going to hear from the realtors about how this is bad for selling houses to newcomers? Shut out of your base assignment completely? GSIW is eerily quiet now that Tata's gone.

And where's the concern for how the stay-where-you-start policy will affect the low-income children? Are we going to start ignoring that again too?

No we just see soothing

No we just see soothing articles in the N&O with 'praise' for the new plan.  All part of the multi-pronged approach to lull the masses into voting for the bond next year.  The machine is amazing in its reach.

The reason for the payola wall

also part of their approach to silence opposition.

As one would say,  just another conspiracy theory.


You keep thinking that is possible. I have not been sequestered in a magnet, I have been a base parent for too many years, my oldest is a senior. When our local Title I schools are at 65% capacity and reaching 60% F&R we won't have the option of staying at Leesville. As Chuck used to say "your numbers are needed at this school." I asked Jim Martin how we get parents into these under enrolled, under funded schools and he said, and I quote "force them." We were in his office when he said it.

My guess is that you have never experienced reassignment - correct?

News flash - Chuck doesn't work there any more

Your child(ren) have been grandfathered to Leesville.  Your address has been assigned to Baileywick.  Not reassigned.  You had no base assignment last year.  Your base is the same base as you had last.  This board came up with "stay where you start" to offer stability.  Why aren't you saying "finally" to that?  You got what you wanted - out of Baileywick, into Leesville, and you get to choose to stay there.  If and when Leesville is overcrowded, quite possibly addresses based at Leesville will be based at Baileywick.  But the children will be grandfathered.  This is a monumental move for stability for children. 

"This board"

How do you figure "this board" came up with "stay where you start" to offer stability? That was part of the Choice Plan passed by the prior board. "This board" has come up with nothing to offer stability. All they've come up with has wcpss heading backwards toward more instability.

This board's supporters

are sucking down as much of their kool-aid as they can get their hands on.

Right Yvoone!

I did not want out of BE

Unlike yourself I actually abided by policy 6200, showed up and invested time and money in  a Title I school. I did not abandon it for a magnet because my kids "deserved better." I watched Chuck move kids around like cattle for 10 years, including our entire PTA who happened to be in one node. Chuck may have retired but the 'urban blight' control crowd are still very much around.

Why are my kids now at tLeesville? This county has not and never will equitably fund schools, and I have no intention of putting my kids in a school that is not fully funded.

Keep telling yourself that this is stability, all the grandfathering will do is create massive capacity issues, massive inequity issues because we use an enrollment-based funding formula and enrage parents even more.

You really need to understand the system in its entirety, you need to have someone give you a historical perspective of what happened in the past when stupid stuff like this was done. This is not a step forward, it is an attempt to hide reassignment for a short period of time. Just long enough to get the plan approved without disruption.

Chuck and Del's ghosts

will forever live on within this school system. It was designed to be a train wreck from within their secret little worlds and thanks to their 'friends' from the Head, Millberg (the loser), Gill, Clark and the rest, this school system will always be a train wreck.

Come 2014-15 prepare to watch it run off the tracks.

Chuck may not work here

Chuck may not work here anymore and Snordone might sound a little paranoid but she's got good reason to be. I do agree that stay where you start is a good thing but I guarantee that if it was up to Hill, we wouldn't have it. Hill was completely in lock step with Dulaney and it is a bit hard for some of us to believe that we won't be seeing the creep back to exactly how it was in the past.

I'd like to think that they won't ever send people back to their base schools but there is absolutely no guarantee that they won't. Frankly, I don't trust Hill. He works a lot behind the scenes and under the radar and that is dangerous. We've already seen evidence of this in his first term and I don't trust him to deal honestly with parents and citizens now either.

I told you

I felt like I was the only one who was seeing this stuff and felt like I was acting paranoid :)

You know this an attempt to hide things long enough to get the policy changed.

Running again, already?

Sounds like you are laying ground work for you next campaign....

NBC ran a murder story today with the school board

on video running behind the copy.

Wonder if that was to send a wake up call to Wake County parents?


So, it's OK to cap a school and make children attend elsewhere under base assignments but it's not OK to give them their 2nd choice under the Choice plan?

And with Mills Park Elementary being fully capped, how is Evans going to keep "neighborhood cohorts" together? And those Lacy parents are in for a shocker.

What a load.

I was cheering here at home

I was cheering here at home when Goldman asked about that. I was glad that at least somebody brought it up. Brassfield's cap kept us from buying in several neighborhoods (about 8 years ago). Lacy parents will pitch a fit and there will be lots of pressure from them to change this. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

One thing that I do not understand is that if a school is capped but you have lived in the neighborhood and established your address you can still go to the capped school when your child gets to K.  They made it sound like you could have a 3 year old now but still be able to go to your capped base since you've already lived in the base area (this kid is not a younger sibling) That the capping only applies to new families moving in.

So if I understand it correctly, a newcomer with a 3 yo wouldn't get into the capped school but I would as long as I bought my house before the cap went into place. We could live next door to each other and our kids could both be rising Kindergarteners, but since I bought my house 3 years ago before the cap went in place and my neighbor bought her house 6 months later, after the cap went into place she goes to an overflow school while my kid goes to the base.

Is that how everybody else interprets that? If you can even follow my example in the first place.


GSIW wrote a whole position paper which included that the Choice plan (which was passed at "breakneck speed"- according to them) shut out newcomers. How is this any different?  If your school is capped, you get another school -- sorta like your 2nd choice.

And, you'll notice, this plan still has feeder patterns - which the Dems complained about incessantly in the choice plan. The only difference now is that magnet families can automatically go back to base during their middle school or high school transition OR have priority in assignment to continue in the magnet program. Meanwhile, the rest of us get squat.

And, yes, I think you're right about the situation you describe. Once the full cap is implemented, anyone moving in after that would have to attend another school.

Queen HippieOcrite Yvonne Brannon

Yep, they got everybody snowed thinking next year's reassignments are all there is don't they.

They are rushing this through faster than Obama ignoring questions about his Generals and they are screwing the newcomers nine ways to Sunday. Capping 1/5th +/- of our schools means it's not your 2nd choice you'll need to worry about, but more like your 4th and 5th.

"The goal was to minimize reassignment..." Martin says.  He must've meant his time around.

"We don’t have as much capacity as we need"  Uhh Sue, since you guys didn't bother addressing under capacity year round schools in their entirety, again, I think you missed some of that available capacity.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/11/13/2481391/wake-school-board-receives-student.html#storylink=cpy

Hey Business leaders, did you guys give up?  You certainly are nowhere to be found this time around.

I think that  is a correct

I think that  is a correct interpretation.  In the past they have used papers to evidence the date you closed on your house.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.