Was it fair to move some 100 Garner High School students to Southeast Raleigh High this fall without prior notice or a public hearing?
As noted in today's article, the way the Garner High students were moved for this fall still leaves a bad taste in some people's mouths. Unlike past practice, the moves were made without a public hearing for those families. It was also done on very short notice.
The moves were first publicly proposed by school board member John Tedesco on March 23 at a student assignment committee meeting. They were approved by the full board on April 6.
School board member Keith Sutton points out that the nodes weren't part of the three-year assignment plan that was approved in 2009 by the old board.
“I’m not against moving them but it had to be more of an open process,” Sutton said.
Sutton argues it was done to fulfill Tedesco's campaign promise to reduce the percentage of low-income students in Garner's schools. Garner civic and business leaders have long complained that the F&R percentages in the town's schools are too high because kids are bused in from Southeast Raleigh.
But Tedesco argues that the students had to be sent to Southeast Raleigh High to relieve crowding at Garner High. He said that they were under such tight deadlines that they couldn't hold the public hearing that was given to parents by previous boards.
Tedesco points out these families can be grandfathered to stay at Garner High. But with 48 percent F&R in those nodes, it won't be easy for a lot of families to provide the transportation to stay at Garner.
Tedesco said those nodes were chosen because it made sense to reassign Garner High students who were in the northernmost part of the attendance boundary. He said some of the students being moved are in Southeast Raleigh High's walk zone.
Tedesco said he's envisioning eventually moving the 10 most northern Garner High nodes to Southeast Raleigh. But it would have been too much of a disruption to do it at once so that's why he only pushed for moving those four this year.
During the March 23 committee meeting, Tedesco had also talked about moving in high-poverty nodes located near old downtown Garner. They're now at Middle Creek High. But he said he had to drop his call to move those nodes to Garner High because it's still too crowded.