Time did not seem to be on the new Wake County school board majority's side when it came to ending mandatory year-round schools in 2010-11.
As noted in today's article, the timetable set by staff to get back the parental surveys came too close for the board's comfort. Plus, staff raised concerns at this late date being able to guarantee where every student would go to for a traditional-calendar school if they didn't want to go to a year-round school.
As a result, the new board members withdrew the motion to begin ending mandatory year-round schools in 2010 and to halt plans to open new schools on mandatory year-round pending completion of the parental survey.
“I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everybody happy,” said new school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman in the article. “But we're doing a disservice if we don't proceed prudently with proper planning.”
Goldman and other new board members stressed that they still plan to end mandatory year-round schools even if it's not for next school year.
“We need to know what the surveys say before we can move forward,” new school board member Deborah Prickett said in the article.
The initial survey plan had Supt. Del Burns reporting back in February with results. But staff said moving that quickly would mean an online-only survey.
Asst. Supt. Chuck Dulaney and Asst. Supt. David Holdzkom raised multiple concerns about online-only surveys, particularly getting responses from families without computer access. They said there's a difference between making families apply online for magnet/calendar school and taking a calendar survey.
After much discussion, the plan now is to have students take home surveys, probably in February, to their parents. Staff is giving Burns until the first meeting in April to report back.
Dulaney pointed out how that late a timeframe would be hard on families making summer camp and trackout plans for next year. He said it would also be hard on families who would be deciding in April whether to accept magnet or calendar seats.
He said they wouldn't meet their goal of notifying parents about school assignments by May 15. Wake missed that goal during the year-round lawsuit.
Dulaney also said that for the two new middle schools and new elementary school opening in July on a year-round calendar, it would be a challenge guaranteeing a traditional-calendar school for families who opt out.