Growth and Planning is doing things differently when it comes to notifying Wake County families about student reassignment.
Laura Evans, senior director of growth and planning, said notices are going out to all the families in the nodes included in the staff recommended 2011-12 reassignment plan. Notices will also be sent to families in the nodes that were originally in the plan approved in 2009 but who are not in the new plan.
Wake had gotten out of the practice of sending notification letters to parents letting them know their children faced reassignment.
As noted in this January 2008 article, school officials said it would confuse parents to let them know their children face reassignment, especially if they weren't moved in the end. The thinking was that parents could look up the information online themselves.
State law doesn't require school districts to let families know they face reassignment. School districts only have to notify families where their children will attend school once it's a done deal.
Another change is that Growth and Planning is dropping the use of "as the crow flies" distance in telling people how the reassignment plan would affect the distances they travel. The plan now lists road distances.
Administrators had defended in the past the use of "as the crow flies" distances.
As noted in this June 2009 article, Chuck Dulaney, then assistant superintendent for growth and planning, said they used straight-line distance to be able to provide an "apples to apples" comparison across the district. He said trying to determine distance based on the distance travelled by school bus or car is subjective and changes depending on the route.
But Dulaney acknowledged that using the straight-line distance means that the reported distance to school is several miles less than the actual travel distance for some students.