Wake school reassignment plan now available

December 7, 2007 9:00:00 PM PST
Friday Wake County parents get their first look at the school board's reassignment plan for the 2008-09 school year. -Click here to get the link to the reassignment plan-

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The Wake County Public School System released its annual reassignment proposal for the 2008-09 school year. The plan ultimately decides which kids go to which elementary schools and could affect 6,432 students. More than 130,000 students currently attend Wake County Schools.

"We're recommending to the School Board what those assignments should be," said Chuck Dulaney, Wake's Assistant Superintendent for Growth and Planning.

Dulaney said most of the reassignments are triggered by the opening of two elementary schools in Cary next fall, and one in Northwest Raleigh.

The reassignment proposal would affect students at 58 of the district's 99 elementary schools. No middle or high schools are involved. Ultimately, the Wake School Board must finalize the re-assignment plan with a vote expected in February.

Dulaney said most of the elementary reassignments are meant to accomodate new schools or relieve overcrowding. Dulaney said between 15-20% of student reassignments are to meet diversity goals.

Wake Schools updated a diversity policy to say campus enrollments should try to match their neighboring schools. Administrators in the past have tried to keep campus enrollments with no more than 40% of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Most parents will be relieved to know the 2008-09 reassignment plan is much smaller than last year's. The final 2007-08 reassignment plan ended up moving almost 11,000 students.

Still, Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams is one man who will not like the latest proposal. Williams and other residents have complained some Garner area schools are over-saturated with low-income students, some of whom are not from Garner.

Smith Elementary's free and reduced lunch student population hovers near 70%. In the current reassignment plan, there is little change.

"Everybody needs to share in the responsibility to attend to the needs of these kids," Williams said.

Dulaney said there are not many places to bus students who are now in Garner area elementary schools.

"Because we don't have a new school opening in the Garner area, it was very difficult in this plan to say how can we make changes next year," Dulaney said.

The public can comment on the proposed reassignment plan until January 1st. District officials say they will use the feedback to update the reassignment plan presented to the Board of Education on Jan. 8.

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