The actual student reassignment changes recommended on Thursday were small in number, but they show the difference in thinking with the new Wake County school board majority.
As noted in today's article, the board's student assignment committee recommended seven changes for this fall’s student assignment plan and left on the table for further review a dozen other changes. All were based on parental requests to have their children attend schools closer to home.
“We’re not talking about socioeconomic status anymore,” said school board member John Tedesco, chairman of the student assignment committee, after the meeting. “Once we pass the resolution, we won’t be talking about it again.”
In one example, Tedesco proposed reassigning into Garner High some low-income students who live in old downtown Garner. They currently go to Middle Creek High.
“They’re low SES kids, but they’re our kids,” said Tedesco, whose district includes Garner. “We want to take care of them. We want to bring these kids back to Garner.”
He proposed freeing up space by moving some Garner High students who live in Southeast Raleigh over to Southeast Raleigh High.
Administrators asked for more time to study the impact of the proposal on both schools, particularly how it would affect magnet spots at Southeast Raleigh High.
You could hear the murmurs of discontent coming from supporters of the diversity policy who attended the committee meeting.
One of the unresolved questions from Thursday is whether a public hearing needs to be held for any of the potential changes. While staff said it's clear that a node that wasn't in the multi-year plan adopted last year would need a hearing if it's now added, it's not as certain about what to do if they're changing a node that was already in the plan.
Both Anne Sherron, a citizen member of the committee, and Diana Bader, chairwoman of the defunct assignment committee that advised staff, say that students should have a public hearing before the full board votes. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
Click here for a handout listing most of the proposed changes discussed Thursday. A check mark means the committee agreed to recommend it. An H means they asked staff to bring more information to the full board on Tuesday. A minus means they voted to not recommend the change.
Even on the handout, there were some changes. For instance, the board agreed to recommend moving more than just Node 707 from Knightdale High to Heritage High. Also included now are a dozen other spot nodes in the Wake Forest area that currently go to KHS.
The reason for adding them all in is that the nodes were scheduled to go to H6, now Rolesville High. With the school not set to open until 2014 because of the abandonment of the Forest Ridge High site, the board agreed to let them go to the much closer Heritage High in the interim.
In addition, there were some changes brought up at the table by board members that aren't on the sheet. For instance, the board agreed to recommend Tedesco's suggestion of reversing this fall’s proposed reassignment of nodes 458.2 and 465.2 from Fuquay-Varina High to Holly Springs High.
Another thing brought up at the table was to reassign nodes 384.4 and 383.3 from Dillard Drive Middle back to Apex Middle. The nodes had been moved out of Apex Middle during a renovation project.
Barbara Walsh, a citizen member of the committee, said those nodes are only being left at Dillard for socioeconomic reasons.
The board is also looking at reassigning those two nodes from Briarcliff Elementary to the closer Farmington Woods Elementary.
The board asked for more info on nodes 384.4 and 383.3 before making a decision.
Staff could have a revised list of all the recommended changes up today. If so, I'll link to them.