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Questions about approving the transfer for Debra Goldman's daughter

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Did you know that you could bypass the normal paperwork and procedure for getting a student transfer in Wake County by appealing directly to the superintendent?

As noted in today's article, that's evidently what school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman's family did to get their daughter transferred, with bus service provided. She's one of only 15 students in all of Wake County who are attending their current school based on an "administrative transfer" approved by the superintendent.

Michael Evans, Wake's chief communications officer, said that then-interim Superintendent Donna Hargens had approved in January a verbal request from the parent at Goldman's address in Cary to transfer to Davis Drive Middle School. (He worded it that way without saying Goldman's name due to privacy rules.)

Until then, Goldman's daughter had been a magnet student at Martin Middle School. Pulling out of Martin meant that she would normally have gone to her base school, which is West Cary Middle. That schooli is closer than Davis Drive.

Speaking for Hargens, Evans said there were "extenuating circumstances" for approving the transfer to Davis Drive and that it was within board policy, He cited privacy rules for not saying why it was approved.

The transfer was granted under Section B(5) of the transfer policy which says "the Superintendent or designee may administratively assign a student to any school in the system when the Superintendent or designee determines that such action is in the best interest of the student and schools affected, and that such action would not contravene the overall intent of the Board’s school assignment policies."

Unlike a normal transfer request, Evans said there's no paperwork that has to be filed.

Also unlike a regular transfer request, Evans said administrative transfers come with transportation.

Wake extended an existing bus route for Davis Drive that primarily serves the area right around the school. The bus stops directly in front of Goldman's house as the first stop in the morning. According to Google Maps, the stop is between 5.2 and 6.5 miles from the next stop.

Evans said that only one student is picked up at the stop at Goldman's address.

In addition, Evans confirmed that then Superintendent Del Burns had approved a request in January 2010 for a bus stop for Martin Middle in front of Goldman's address. It's 0.3 miles from one stop and 0.4 miles from another one on the route.

Evans said that 2010 request was also within board procedure.

In what could be a rare instance, both Allison Backhouse and Yevonne Brannon agreed on an issue. They said that approving Goldman's request looked fishy.

"One of the things that the public wants to feel is that everything is transparent," said Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition. "No matter what the circumstances, whether it’s boards meeting privately or board members making private requests for transfers, that’s not transparent."

Goldman did not return requests for comment Friday.


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By posting here

By posting your comments,  is it safe to assume  you do not believe Goldman's request is justified ?

Trust me.  It's not idle

Trust me.  It's not idle gossip. 

And, yes, TEACHERS should make the decision of where students go to suit their best interest.  It is not appropriate for students to make that decision based on who's class their friend is in. 

Get real

In EVERY school my kids have attended, many many parents, ( especially those involved and in the know from lots of volunteer time or because of their influence of some sort), have angled to get a specific  teacher or team of teachers for their child.  Elementary, middle, and high schools.  Ask elementary school principals about how parents  go about lobbying  for their teachers .   Ask high school counselors about the time they spend during the summer listening to parents angle for the "right" chemistry , math, or English teacher.   It happens all the time!  It's human nature for parents to want the best for their kid.

And while I agree that teachers should have some responsbility for assigning kids to class,  I can also say that there were many teachers of ours whom I would never trust to make that decision for my kids.  For a whole lot of reasons.

Seems like Cityof Oaks's beef is with the admin at Martin for allowing class changes.  I will bet you Goldman's kid wasn't the only one to get any teacher favors.

And I agree with Sconce and others that this has gone too far and will have repercussions for the Goldman kid.  If I were Goldman,  I 'd  probably put my kid in a private school at this point because of the cyber-bullying. 

Goldman Panties in a bunch

Great abuse of power.  A true Politician in the making (if she could just stick with one side; Dem. or Rep.).  Debra is simply a spoiled, rich brat that is pissed she (and her daughter) didn't get treated better than everyone else. Sounds like she got a bit upset at a Dance teacher from what my neighbor's daughter said.  So she ran a campaign for Neighborhood schools and her neighborhood school isn't good enough.  At the very least she could drive her daughter to school and back.  Well actually at the very least she should have followed the same process as anyone else and provide her own transportation.



Evans claims there is no papertrail to these requests yet readily said there were 15 students approved under this transfer. Wouldn't that indicate that there is some record-keeping involved? How would he know there were 15 if there are no records?

Wake has codes for just

Wake has codes for just about every student's assignment status. It's quite plausible that they have 15 students who are coded as having received administrative transfers.

Also, I've been informed that the person who is posting as Stansbury is not the same Joey Stansbury who is occasionally quoted here on the blog.

What were the plausible

What were the plausible reasons people might have had for requesting those other 14 transfers, and what were the plausible reasons WCPSS might have had for handling them as "administrative transfers," as opposed to some other type of transfer?

Who's in charge of record keeping?

How many more things are going to conveniently not have records? If AdvancED and the FEDs want to harass this school system it sure seems to me they'd have a legit argument with the system's record keeping policy. They SUCK at it! Who is accountable for that and why is it all we continue to get are excuses?

The WCPSS only documents

The WCPSS only documents things that cover their own a$$es.  Anything else will pull back the veil.  Ask them about documentation to prove that PBIS works!  Ask them to pull back the veil on NBPTS!  Ask them to pull back the veil on NCWISE.....not to mention who gained the most money (in the BILLIONS) by being the link between NC Taxpayer money and the NBPTS/NCWISE fiascos.  Think you will find that documentaion in R&D?  I doubt it. 

There is a pattern

There is a pattern developing here. They didn't keep records to be able to know who is bused for diversity. It has been almost a year since they were asked for accountability on math placement. They can't get that right. At first they said they couldn't tell anything. Then they made 5 or 6 attempts, and still can't answer clearly whether kids who meet the criteria are properly placed. No record of this transfer. Who is responsible for the fact that there are no records for anything, and thus no way to verify anything or have any accountability? Who would that be? Three people come to mind...

Can you tell us if the other

Can you tell us if the other 15 got transportation also, and something about them. Like, are they poor black students or are they all upper class well connected white students, or a random mix, etc.? And who approved them?

Plus, why not just follow

Plus, why not just follow normal procedues? Are normal procedues inadequate?


A mid-year transfer is unusual and rarely granted.  Who knows how long normal procedures take -- it's possible that they are inadequate.

Hmm, you are trying awfully

Hmm, you are trying awfully hard to pass this off. Why?


I don't know about padding this off. I just don't like the rush to judgment without all the facts, especially when there's a child involved. There's clearly a backstory here that not only are we all ignorant of, but we are supposed to be ignorant of it.

Supposed to be ignorant of

Supposed to be ignorant of WCPSS policies that will allow one to choose a school and have door-to-door transportation?

Yeah... the "for the

Yeah... the "for the children" defense. It is often used very effectively. However, this is not about a child, it about an elected official using her influence to get what she wants, when others, with much less influence, have tried mightily and unsuccessfully to do the same. I am very interested to hear  a convincing and legitimate explanation  of how -- or why --someone could take their child out of a desirable magnet schools -- a school many apply to, but ony a very few get in -- and transfer them to another school that is not a base school or a YR option... and do this all behind closed doors, with no witnesses, no paperwork and none of the normal approvals required for a transfer. If that does not stink to high heaven, I am not sure what does.

I think the transfer was

I think the transfer was probably something related to the kid.  There's several reasons I can think of why his mom wanted the kid transferred.  Now if one of them is something like she wanted him to be closer to her office then I'd have a problem with it.

But, the big thing is as woodstock points out is the lack of records.  How is it we have a hugely-resourced school district burning through hundreds of millions of dollars and they can't seem to keep and produce decent records on any number of things?  And they're not little things. 

At first it appeared Dulaney-Burns kept them cloistered so as to hide some things.  Those two finally came off as inept - just incapable of doing the job in other words.  Now it's appearing more and more that you can't get a lot of wcpss admins and PHd's to require or perform basic book-keeping.  They are educaters.  Do those words mean anything?  They aren't running some little business out of the house.  I seriously doubt most of the small and large business in the triangle keep worse records than our school system  It's ridiculous and suprising that the public can't or won't hold them accountable on these most basic functions.

I wonder what could be

I wonder what could be "related to a kid" that could not be addressed at either a highly regarded magnet school, a base school or a year-round option, ... AND required a paperless closed-door process different from the normal transfer request process. I have a very hard time imagining what that could be.

I'm sure you've seen the

I'm sure you've seen the Public Comments periods at the BoE meetings, either in person or on WRAL.com. A parade of crazies concerned citizens take their two or three minutes each to hurl insults at this kid's mom. Suppose there are some like-minded crazies students at Martin Middle who want to follow that example and have similar fun with this kid.

How is Martin Middle supposed to referee that, without attracting the sharks from the NAACP, NC Heat, etc., and our local sleazy tabloid newspaper?  

How does that situation apply to any other kid in WCPSS? How practical would it be to write a specific policy for that, rather than covering it in a general catch-all policy that applies only when other policies don't apply, which is used for only 15 of more than 100,000 cases? 


For your senario to make

For your senario to make sense those "concerned citizens" would also have to have infiltrated the base school and the year-round option. And, STILL, why use a closed-door paperless process to make the change.

A personal issue should be

A personal issue should be closed-door. As far as being "paperless," the spin we have comes from our local tabloid, and two catfighting political opponents. The kid was dis-enrolled at one school and enrolled at another. The reason was classsified as "administrative transfer." Those actions are not paperless. What was, or might be, paperless is that the specific reason for the administrative transfer was not written down, or might not have been written down. Or maybe it was written down, but sealed from public disclosure, because of the kid's privacy. As it should be, if it was a personal issue involving a kid.

What's the objective?

Any public official abusing their power should be called out for it.  All the facts aren't necessarily out there, and Goldman isn't helping herself any by refusing to talk to the press.  With the information that's available, this stinks, especially the free transportation part.

Much of the impetus for this coming to light seemed to come from neighborhood schools supporters.  What's the motivation?

To ensure that we hold our public officials to the appropriate standard?


Strong-arming Goldman to get her back on board?

Getting her to resign in embarrassment?

No argument that light should be shined on this matter, and I'm no saint myself as far as lobbing shells at Goldman, but I wonder what the motivation is.

If Goldman resigns tomorrow, the neighborhood schools movement is dead.  We'd have a board split 4-4 with Margiotta as chair.  That means the "old program" Dems would carry a 4-3 majority on all votes, with Margiotta only weighing in on ties.  The remaining 8 board members would vote on Goldman's replacement, and the Dems would have every incentive to fillibuster a consensus, unless the replacement was someone who would vote with them.

Goldman hasn't responded to olive branches or strong-arm tactics in the past, and if anything I think that this being pushed by neighborhood schools supporters will make her even more unbalanced.  If the motivations are pure, great.  If the motivations are payback or strong-arming, then they may have put our whole neighborhood schools movement at significant risk.

Isn't it obvious what the

Isn't it obvious what the motivation is?  Pure selfishness and vindictiveness, the same motives that drove the lawsuit by WakeCARES and the last school board election. 

VD is pathetic


Please leave WakeCARES out

Please leave WakeCARES out of it.  They filed a well-defined lawsuit, with an objective of ending Mandatory Year Round assignments.  Their suit was not directed at any individual board member, and they sought a very specific policy change.

To benefit themselves.

To benefit themselves, and to get back at leaders in the school system who they felt had not listened to them.

More pathetic babble


Virginia, I hope you realize

Virginia, I hope you realize that the greatest opposition to MYR came from ITB families who also threatened to sue the school system if MYR was forced upon them.  Once MYR was limited to the suburbs, they disappeared.  Do you hold them in disdain, too?  I have no doubt that some of them would have sued as well.

WakeCARES filed the suit so that nobody had to be forced onto MYR.  I think there are many people around the county who are thankful that the suit was filed and that somebody else had to take the heat for it.

Don't know that I'd

Don't know that I'd characterize the opposition to MYR as being the "greatest" from ITB, but yes, if they had sued I would have felt that their motives were selfish, too.  YR was put in place where the growth was the greatest, and I can understand that, but I do agree with you that it would have been better politically if it had been imposed county-wide, even though then  parents would have had even fewer choices and opportunities to opt-out.

Virtually no one who requested a traditional placement because year-round didn't work for them was denied before the lawsuit, though they might not have been assigned to the school they felt was the most convenient or attractive.  At the time, the board and administrators were dealing with a crisis situation.  The only thing that prevented it from materializing as predicted was the fiinancial meltdown.   


you're pathetic.

The "crisis" was in their

The "crisis" was in their own minds.  They converted 22 schools en masse, well before most of that additional capacity was needed.  Some of those schools are still below their enrollment prior to conversion.

it would have been better politically if it had been imposed county-wide, even though then  parents would have had even fewer choices and opportunities to opt-out.

It would have been worse politically if they has imposed MYR county-wide -- the additional seats were not needed, and there would have been that many more families impacted.  Such a move would also have caused the waste of millions of dollars, and YR schools cost more to operate.

Also, nobody would have had opportunities to opt-out if not for the WakeCARES lawsuit (which you say was just a few selfish parents wanting to take care of their own).

As long as I've lived here, WCPSS has had a poor record of projecting student base growth, often over-estimating by 50%. 

If they hadn't added the

If they hadn't added the capacity before it was needed, they would have been accused of poor planning.  I do not believe YR should have been imposed county-wide, but was agreeing with Jenman who has stated before that she thought it would have been more fair that way.   Actually your buddies in the Wake County Taxpayers' Association were the ones advocating for the entire county to go year-round to save taxpayers' money, until they discovered they could take advantage of parents' unhappiness in their campaign to undermine public education.

Almost all of the families who requested a traditional school before the lawsuit was filed were accomodated, so it is patently untrue that nobody would have had opportunities to opt-out without the lawsuit. 

WCPSS has not been solely responsible for projecting growth, which was done by staff from Wake County and the school system working with expert advice from NCSU.  At the time the projections and assumptions were made for the 2006 bond and the decision to convert the schools, the system WAS facing a growth crisis, exacerbated by the prior failed bond and underfunding, that I don't believe anyone could have predicted would be averted by an even worse crisis -- the financial one.

Oh VD you're pathetic

How about all the families who didn't want to request their child go to another school? How about the ones who bought homes based on the schools they wanted their children to attend and based on the calendar of those schools at the time they bought? How about the ones who after a year or two of moving into those homes were forced into a completely different calendar or their choice of one of Chuck's undesirable schools? How about all the empty tracks the forced schools still have, the same empty tracks they had the first day, the first year and continue to have?

You're pathetic.


That's a weak argument.  Adding capacity as needed is not poor planning.  Poor planning is converting to a year-round schedule schools which, 4 years later, are still running only 3 tracks.

As to WCTA...  I don't understand the fear of this band of dying-out old goats.

Almost all of the families who requested a traditional school before the lawsuit was filed were accomodated, so it is patently untrue that nobody would have had opportunities to opt-out without the lawsuit.

That's a little bit of revisionism.  The lawsuit was filed shortly after the year-round conversion decisions.  And, IIRC, the statement was "You can apply to go to a traditional calendar school, but we don't know what school you'll go to, and you may go to ones that are far away."  When the then-board finally selected traditional calendar school options (after Judge Manning's decision), they did their darndest to make them unappealing.  The nearest one for my kids was over 10 miles away, even though there was a traditional calendar school on the other side of the neighborhood.

According to the statements

According to the statements of fact in the lawsuit, more capacity was needed immediately, especially in those areas where the schools were converted. If Judge Manning had not issued his faulty (according the higher courts) decision which forced the district to scramble at the last minute, the schools would have been filled.  Though the growth slowed dramatically due to the economy, all of that capacity will still be needed. 

Band of dying out old goats?  Seems to me that the WCTA is more powerful than ever.  They helped flip the school board to hard-line Republicans who do not believe the system needs more funding, did the same for the CC, and their allies gained control of the GA the last election.  They got one of their members (and wasn't he an officer at one time?) elected school board chair and were the first group the new superintendent met with. 

I misspoke when I said the opt-outs were approved before the lawsuit was filed, which was as you said almost immediately after the assignment plan was voted on.  I should have said before it was heard in court by Manning.  The board set aside about 3000 (don't remember exact numbers) traditional seats for students assigned to year-round schools as part of the assignment plan.  And they couldn't say exactly which school the student would be assigned to until they knew exactly how many would opt out, and where.



Are you talking about Manning's findings of fact, or was this a stipulation that both parties agreed on?  I just don't recall.  But, the timeline is all messed up:

If you recall, there was a good deal of discussion about the right size of the bond offering -- should it be (1) big enough so as not to convert any schools, or would it be (2) smaller and (eventually) require some year-round conversions?   
The problem is that the traditional capacity in fall of 2007 would have been EXACTLY THE SAME had option (1) been chosen, instead of option (2).   After all, it takes time to float a bond and to construct a school.  Yet, under option (2), schools were converted in fall 2007, whereas under option (1), they wouldn't have been.
We can argue about WCTA 'till the cows come home, but here's something to think about:  I moved here in 1990, thinking I was about as conservative as they came.  But, the WCTA is defnitely to the right of me on a number of issues.  I think it's just southern politics -- both Democrats and Republicans are more conservative than their northern counterparts.  (It wasn't the GOP who created the NC ban on collective bargaining of public employees.)  As more and more outsiders move here, I think Republicans are shifting a bit more toward the center, and the Democrats are shifting a bit more to the left.  The WCTA, however, isn't shifting anywhere.  As a result, they are slowly becoming marginalized.  That's masked by the last election, but you'll see it over time.  Besides, they are not exactly the most youthful assortment of people you've ever seen.


The WCTA when it comes to schools is outside the mainstream of most Republicans. There is a older guy in the group that concentrates on schools and pushed hard for year round conversions.

Where did you get the

Where did you get the figures for how many were approved for traditional opt-outs before the lawsuit?  As far as I know, WCPSS never offered an option for people who were assigned to year round.  Many families were assigned to mandatory year round before the conversions--mostly low income and Brier Creek because it opened on MYR with only a base population (at least I'm pretty sure it was not an app school--just base). 

For low income families, there were no options for traditional.  They could apply for magnets, but that was the longest of long shots with the lottery rigged against them.

I do agree that some of the conversions were due mainly to capacity (Pleasant Union and Brassfield for example), but far too many weren't.  Wakefield ES has operated far below capacity since the conversion and is still projected to be underutilized for the next few years.

As part of the reassignment

As part of the reassignment plan that year, traditional seats were set aside for families who could not make the year-round schedule work for them.  The approvals for traditional opt-outs had not been made at the time the lawsuit was filed, but had been by the time  Ann Majestic made her arguments in court before Judge Manning.  Those seats were available to low income families also.  You are right that even before the conversions some families had been assigned to year-round schools as their base without having a traditional option, but even those families had the right to request a transfer. 

They may have had a right to

They may have had a right to request a transfer, but there would be no transportation provided.

Correction, to benefit

Correction, to benefit everyone -- well, all rational people -- who opposed mandatory YR assignments. It had nothing to do with getting back at anyone; it was about fighting against oppressive and burdensome policies.

Sounds like you're talking about Brannon and Barbar

to me.

This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with WakeCares.  Patrice Lee, Kathleen Brennan and Dawn Graff have nothing to do with this.  They are the people behind WakeCares, and they are about protecting Wake County kids from Mandatory YR assignments, something we should all be grateful for.


And if I knew about this information and kept quiet you would be OK with it? Do you think Yevonne Brannon is selfish for agreeing?

I was actually referring to

I was actually referring to everyone involved.  It wasn't right for Goldman to get special treatment without following policy, and that was selfish, just as it was selfish for Tedesco to get his own neighborhood reassigned to a more affluent school so that his property values would go up, as well as many other decisions and individual votes which would personally benefit members of the new majority. I wouldn't call Yevonne Brannon selfish in any way.  She has nothing to gain personally from all the hours and weeks and years she has spent in support of this school system and this community rather than trying to tear it down  and divide it.  And wasn't your real motivation in exposing Goldman vindictiveness?

And didnt the board approve

And didnt the board approve the reversal of the Panther Creek- Broughton moves for 2010. Allowing Prickett's son to remain at Panther Creek with transportation.

The analogy being that

The analogy being that Goldman's transfer was discussed and approved by the BOE?


Who is "everyone involved"? This was a public information request from me -- not from anyone else.

You say it wasn't right for Goldman to get special treatment and not follow policy yet you admonish me for verifying it? So, if you found out that a Board member didn't follow policy, you would keep it to yourself? Interesting.

Tedesco's node move was discussed at a work session amongst the whole Board, in front of the public, following policy and voted on accordingly. Not even comparable.

I'm not sure why you feel Brannon has nothing to gain personally but I do. What exactly do I gain personally? I'm not vindictive -- I want transparency in this school system just as you do. It was a shady deal. Believe me, if you found out it was me who got this sweet deal, you'd be alllll over it.

Mrs. Backhouse

Mrs. Backhouse - What prompted you to ask for the public records?

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.