Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane is speaking out against the new Wake County student assignment plan, and Superintendent Tony Tata says they make changes to address her concerns.
As noted in today's online article by Thomas Goldsmith, McFarlane said the new assignment plan is beginning to hurt efforts to recruit businesses to the area. McFarlane said she is starting to hear that some businesses have second thoughts about coming here.
“With us trying to recruit businesses to come here, we are trying to compete with municipalities all around the globe,” said McFarlane at today's joint meeting of the school board and Wake County Mayors Association. “The big thing is, ‘Where are my kids going to go to school?’ And there’s no answer. That’s a deal breaker.”
The heart of the issue seems to be that the choice plan doesn't include base assignments, which would have more of an impact on new families moving to the area.
Tata said he took McFarlane’s comments seriously and would work with the school board on meeting concerns from company executives and others who worry about the placement of children from newcomers’ families.
Tata said the school board and he would consider moves such as increasing capacity at some schools, even though that would run counter to the plan’s goal of reducing overcrowding by making best use of all schools’ capacity.
“There are some things we can perhaps do better,” Tata said. “As you implement, you learn lessons and take those lessons and try to improve.”
As an example of a means to accommodate more newcomers, Tata said that instead of reducing a given school from 120 percent of capacity to 100 percent, the system could explore going halfway to 110 percent. That would mean the school would have 10 percent more children in attendance than its stated capacity.