The draft summary of Wake County's new student assignment plan seems to promise a lot of things to different people.
As noted in today's article, the plan promotes proximity by noting that "base assignments will be made at one of their proximate schools to the extent possible." It also says that "residential areas and subdivisions proximate to schools and representative of the students already attending the schools" were used.
For those concerned about diversity, administrators say "in the establishment of the base school attendance area, student performance data was used when an overcrowded or under enrolled school was adjusted."
In answer to board members concerns, staff says that when the lines were drawn up "student achievement targets for each school factored in when adding or removing particular neighborhoods to reach school capacity and achievement goals.
Further, staff is telling board members that "student achievement targets for each school were factored in when adding or removing particular neighborhoods to reach school capacity goals and balanced base assignment areas."
Staff also points to how "students who attend a school designated as low performing have a guarantee to attend a school designated as Regional Choice if they request it during the Open Enrollment process."
Throw in the additional resources at schools whose performance composite is 10 or more percentage points below the district average.
For those worried about overcrowding, the plan calls for setting enrollment caps at schools once they hit 100 percent of capacity.
For those concerned about choice, the plan has an open enrollment period in the spring during which families can apply to non-magnet schools that aren't capped. Transportation won't be provided to every choice.
For those who want stability, there's s stay-where-you-start component for families reassigned to attend newly opening schools, such as what will happen next year to fill Abbotts Creek Elementary and Rolesville High. Rising first through fifth, seventh, eighth and 10th graders will be able to stay at their current school but would lose transportation for not going to the new school.
All other current students are grandfathered at their current school and keep their current level of bus service.
For the Inside the Beltline families who complained about not getting into a proximate school under the choice plan, the magnet percentages at Joyner, Underwood and Wiley elementary schools are being reduced to 20 percent to free up more base seats.
For people who are not going to their base school, they can file during the base declaration period to go back to their base school the following year if there's space. What's unclear is whether this would apply to, let's say, a magnet school eighth-grader who wants to go to the base high school for ninth-grade.
Some of the other changes may or not be as welcomed:
* Green Elementary and East Garner Elementary would switch from a year-round calendar to a traditional calendar.
* Alston Ridge and Highcroft elementary schools would switch from being a single-track, year-round school to a multi-track, year-round school.
* Vance Elementary and North Garner Middle would switch from being multi-track, year-round schools to single-track, year-rounds.
There's some initial board reaction to the summary.
“It’s got some great points,” school board member Christine Kushner said of the plan on Monday. “We need to repeat early and often that students will be grandfathered.”
Where board member Jim Martin wasn't happy that it was a neighborhood school plan, that got the opposite reaction from board member Chris Malone.
“This is for all intents and purposes a neighborhood school plan that has some elements of choice in it,” Malone said.