The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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School hiring freeze implemented

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The school system has announced it's implementing an immediate hiring freeze.

Starting today, all vacant position in the school system will be frozen through June 30. Principals will be allowed to fill teacher vacancies with temporary contracts expiring June 30.

School officials say other exceptions to the hiring freeze will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The hiring freeze comes after the school system gave back more than $11 million to the county and state to help make up their revenue shortfalls.

“Although Wake County's economy is in a better position than most, our state and county government still expect a serious shortfall in revenue,” said Superintendent Del Burns in a press release. “We are positioning WCPSS for anticipated decreases in revenue based on trends in the economy. These are uncertain times for families, businesses and WCPSS employees alike, but together we can work through them.”

Click here to read a memo on the hiring freeze.


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Charlotte schools consider cutting 1,200


Wake ed Partnerships

Wake ed Partnerships Newsletter/ top story

Reassignments complete

A long, tedious and often contentious debate came to a close this week when Wake County school board members approved a student reassignment plan intended to last until the 2011-2012 school year. (Detailed summary found here.)

Thousands of additional students are expected to enroll in Wake County schools the next few years despite the deteriorating economy. Space is also needed for the roughly 10,000 new who students enrolled in the past two years. Such growth is the catalyst for a three-year plan to build 10 news schools and, in turn, reassign thousands.

The final number of mandatory reassignments was whittled down significantly from its first draft almost six months ago. By removing some students and giving more than 9,000 others the chance to remain at their current schools if they provide their own transportation, the final plan calls for roughly 11,000 mandatory reassignments between next year and 2011-12.

While the moves will not be spread evenly, they amount to about 3,700 reassignments each year in a district that currently enrolls more than 137,000 students. School officials say roughly two-thirds of the reassignments are driven by growth, but there are five other factors the district considers when moving families. (Click here for detail.)

One of those factors is a desire to preserve diversity in all schools. According to the board’s policy, children who qualify for subsidized lunches should make up no more than 40 percent of any school’s enrollment. The policy also requires no more than 25 percent of the students in any school score below grade level on state-mandated exams.

Defining diversity this way is intended to keep all schools attractive to teachers and families, but it was harshly criticized by some parents who believe it plays a central role in all reassignments. School board member Ron Margiotta, representing southern Wake County, referred to it as “social engineering” in casting one of two dissenting votes.

A single student can meet several of the board’s reassignment factors at the same time, such as maintaining diversity and filling a new school, so it is difficult to pin down a specific number of students reassigned solely for diversity. But in a plan with only 3,700 reassignments on average per year, the diversity figure represents just a tiny percentage of the whole.

That is little solace to parents directly affected by the plan who are looking for a target to attack. At a meeting of about 100 people Thursday evening in Holly Springs, diversity was characterized as the sole reason for reassignments. Several local politicians, as well as the mayors of Apex, Holly Springs, Cary and Garner encouraged the parents to recruit and elect new board members for the fall elections who are “family friendly.”

But in the short term, the recession poses a more immediate threat to the reassignment plan. With the overall economy still mired in uncertainty, county commissioners are unsure if Wake can afford to build the 10 new schools as scheduled. School board members are also waiting for the state Supreme Court to release a decision on whether the district can require students to attend classes on a staggered, year-round schedule.

If either the economy or the court decision upends the new plan, it would likely lead to a new set of reassignments.

"...looking for a target to

"...looking for a target to attack".  Oh my.  That's a funny one. 

Who does this group think they are?  They are sure out of touch with reality and really grasping.  Parents are looking out for their families and their communities, and if our own school system would function in an honorable and honest fashion a lot could be accomplished.


(1)  Wake Ed Partnership is a 501(c)(3).   If I recall correctly, one of the restrictions is that they cannot involve themselves directly with elections.  (That's why churches get in trouble for endorsing candidiates.)    Yet, WEP endorsed the last bond referendum.  It will be curious to see what WEP does in the elections this fall and if a letter of complaint to the IRS will be appropriate.

(2)  I don't recall anybody on Thursday characterizing diversity as the only reason for the reassignment.  In fact, several people said that "filling new schools" was an appropriate reason for reassignments.


Thanks Republicans Barely

Thanks Republicans Barely Bipartisan but a Senate Stimulus Deal is Done “Most of the cuts that led to the deal - about $85 billion - came from reduced spending on school construction (a $19 billion proposal was zeroed out), teacher funding and higher education” "The Democrats wanted to see a lot of education funding and the Republicans generally argued that the programs, while worthwhile, should go through the regular appropriations process," Collins said. "Or in the case of the $19 billion for school construction there's a real case on whether that's a federal role or a local and state role." I guess Republican prefer to invest in Iraq schools and infrastructure. http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090207/us_time/08599187797100

No Thanks ...Please --- OT Reply to OT Spear

Three RINO's (Republican in name only) does not make this vinegar based BBQ sandwich of a bill bi-partisan. The Dems didn't need them at all, except for cover. Even the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said this bill won't work. Frankly, stealing from my children is a bit repulsive.

And guess what user123, another bill just like this one AKA TARP3 is on the way...when will it stop?

while the Democrats want to

while the Democrats want to spend it on honey-bees...


"It'll need to change if

"It'll need to change if it'll do any good. I mean, things like $150 million honey bee insurance is not what the American public had in mind," McConnell said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

$150 Million vs $19 Billion for US schools.


If it was for schools in Iraq, the Republicans would vote for it.

Voting- Another OT Spear reply

Iraq rebuilding effort is a follow on of the war. We actually have a international legal obligation to get a working government in Iraq before we pull out, schools are part of it. Nation building is handled by the bureaucrats in the State Dept.; from my experience, they are pretty left wing (that doesn't change by administration change, only the leadership). I do think that Iraq needs to pay more into their own rebuilding. A huge amount of the money spent is the very expensive equipment used to keep both our troops safe and limit civilian casualties in Iraq while protecting their infrastructure. Of course we could have pulled out earlier and had the blood of millions on innocent people on our conscience...at least they have a chance now. I think Afghanistan is a bigger problem and I think it is un-winnable in the long run  [IMHO], that where I see more waste.

What happened to instant

What happened to instant savings of discontinuing Mandatory Year Round schools?

Does it apply to bus drivers?

So, WCPSS is reassigning a whole lotta kids next fall, which presumably means they are going to need new bus drivers. How are they going to do their all important shuttling of kids to achieve "healthy" schools?



According to the WCPSS website the hiring feeeze is until June 30,2009.Time will tell about the next school year!

YR schools will suffer

The first day of school for students in year-round schools is July 7.  Unfortunately for those schools, there is no time!


This could prove to be very interesting in many areas. 

The economic crisis is enough to cause great concern all on its own, but if the court case were to get resolved in favor of WakeCares, God willing, it will be like waiting for a hurricane to hit with the changes that could follow! If diesel goes back up to 4+ a gallon that too will cause the hurricane force winds to howl.

The next few months are going to be like the anticipation of Christmas morning for parents!

Sounds like you are in FV, fvparent?

FV it is...

Yes, I'm in FV.  You're on to me!  =)

The Pink Panther

helped me figure it out.  :c )

We might be getting a group of folks together in your area soon for a "strategy" session.

If you aren't happy with the cards your family has been dealt and aren't happy with your boe rep, would you be interested in being included and do you know others from that area that might as well?

I'm interested

Yes, I'm interested.  I'll see if I can rustle up a few other folks.

Stay tuned then

We'll keep you posted as it comes together.

Why this?

So, when the county commissioners were threatening the school budget, the district's response was "If we don't get more money, we will have to cut teacher dental insurance." In effect, asserting that the least important thing in the school budget was teacher dental insurance.

So, when they now actually have to reduce spending, you would assume that they would go back and cut teacher dental insurance first, right? Apparently not. To my knowledge, that's still in place. Instead, they have found other places to cut.

Why the switch? Could it be that the school board was lying earlier in an effort to convince the commissioners to give them more?

If so, that's not a particularly strong endorsement of the majority's ethics.

The dental insurance is a

The dental insurance is a yearly contract with the insurance company right? I wonder if they could break it in the middle of the year.

What I want to know is if the hiring frreze also effects the admin side.

Really good question! Mr.

Really good question! Mr. Hui, could you answer?

The hiring freeze affects

The hiring freeze affects everyone, including administration.

Impact on new schools

Keung, would this freeze also apply to the new schools scheduled to open for the 09-10 school year? Thanks.

All schools are facing the

All schools are facing the hiring freeze. Wake is saying new schools wouldn't be hiring much before the spring job fair in April anyway so there shouldn't be much of an impact yet. They say they'll have a better handle on the economic situation by then.

Don't know. I'll ask.

Don't know. I'll ask.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.