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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Changing bell schedules for Enloe and six other schools

Enloe High School isn’t the only one whose bell schedule got tweaked today.

While Enloe's schedule was changed again to add 10 more minutes each day for the upcoming school year, six other schools needed changes as well.

Chief Academic Officer Donna Hargens said the districtwide bell schedule list the school board approved on March 31 had some errors and left out at least one school.

Recapping today's board meeting

The school board had a pretty busy day today.

The board elected Kevin Hill as the new chairman and agreed on a procedure for soliciting applicants to fill Rosa Gill's seat.

The board trimmed $3.3 million out of the budget after getting less than requested from commissioners.


Four new principals named

We've got new principals tonight at Holly Springs High, Davis Drive Elementary and Wildwood Forest Elementary and an interim leader at Carver Elementary.

Timothy Lee Locklair will become principal of Holly Springs High, replacing Luther Johnson, who left due to health issues. Locklair has been the principal of Apex Middle since 2004 and previously was a high school teacher and assistant principal in Moore County.

Locklair will receive a salary of $95,902.

Hill elected school board chairman

The school board has just unanimously selected Kevin Hill to be the new chairman.

Horace Tart has been unanimously selected as the new vice chairman.

The board also agreed to take applications from the public for Gill's pending vacancy on the board. People will have until noon on July 20 to submit applications to the district. The goal is to appoint a replacement in August.

Selecting the new Wake school board chair today

Things seem to be pointing in the direction of Beverley Clark becoming the new chairwoman of the school board today.

Amid the behind-the-scenes wrangling, it would seem that Clark has the votes to win this afternoon's election over Kevin Hill. Then again, Lori Millberg thought she had the votes until the last minute last year.

One thing to see today is whether the vote is unanimous. That would mean that one of the hopefuls realizes he/she can't win and wants to put on a show of solid support for the new chair.

Clark has never been chairwoman during her 10 years on the board. Hill has been on the board for two years.

Usually the new chair in an election year would be someone running for re-election. But three of the four incumbents aren't running for re-election.

Getting less money than requested from the county

The school board is going to have to do some budget cutting.

County commissioners voted 4-3 this afternoon on a budget that avoids closing two libraries but doesn't give the school system more than what was recommended by County Manager David Cooke. This means the school board will get $3.3 million less than it requested from the county.

Commissioners rejected an effort this afternoon to increase school funding by pulling funds from construction projects. This leaves the school district with $313.5 million.


Click here for today's article by Michael Biesecker.

Developing a Wake policy on Wednesday early school dismissals

The election of new officers won't be the only thing that the school board does on Tuesday.

The board is scheduled to introduce a new policy on professional learning communities that will coincide with the weekly early dismissals that will start in July. Board members say they realize they still need to persuade parents that there is a valid reason for dismissing classes an hour early each Wednesday.

“It needs to be made clear to parents that work takes place those days," said school board member Lori Millberg at a committee meeting last week. "That teachers aren’t taking off to go to the doctor or to the beach. We know they’re not but we want parents to be sure of that too.

Gill to be an advocate for education

Rosa Gill, the soon-to-be newest member of the General Assembly, says she'll be a strong advocate for education.

Gill doesn't expect she'll be seated in time for next week's budget discussions in the state House. But she plans to make her voice heard when the final votes are taken later this session on the budget.

"Maybe I can persuade them not to cut as much from schools," said Gill, who is currently chairwoman of the Wake County school board. "I'm going to be an advocate for education when I get there."

Possible successors to Rosa Gill on the Wake school board

Some folks have already indicated interest in filling Rosa Gill's seat on the school board.

Gill said at least four people have talked with her about the position. She said they'd all bring unique qualities to the board.

Gill said the potential candidates include Lillian Lee, the retired principal of Rolesville Elementary School; Alice Garrett, a retired administrator and former principal of Carroll Middle School; Jonica Rowland, an active PTA volunteer; and the Rev. Johnny Darden, who mentors at-risk students.

Smooth running graduations at the Convention Center

As much as some people don't want to give the school system any credit, the graduations have gone fairly smoothly at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Several folks who've been at a graduation say it's gone okay. Parking and traffic haven't been as much as a problem as they could have been.

Still, things weren't perfect.