Wake County holds third reassignment meeting

January 12, 2009 8:37:19 PM PST
Wake County's diversity policy takes center stage as dozens oppose the latest plan to shuffle thousands of students.Wake County wants to move students around to create socioeconomic diversity, with the belief that all students do better in a diverse environment. But it's the way the plan is being carried out that has a lot of complaints coming in.

Millbrook High School has the highest number of low income students in the area. The plan to change that has some parents believing things will get worse before getting better.

"IB success at MHS" --its a slogan welcoming a new magnet program to Millbrook High School that's supposed to attract wealthier students to this lower income school.

But making room for those students means sending hundreds of current students away and those who teach them --something so many disagree with, that school leaders had to dived their public hearing into two groups.

"It's odd to me that we would drop nearly 800 students, not to mention the number of teachers and coaches we would lose" teacher Scott Saby said.

"What happens when you take away half the track team and the team now runs for another school, or the basketball and football players have to play for another school," student Evan Moody said.

Wake County's diversity policy tries to limit the number of lower income students to 30 percent at a given school.

Sometimes the higher income families fight the shuffle too.

Like those from the Wood Valley neighborhood who want to stay at Leesville Road Middle, instead of going to West Millbrook Middle where they say they'll only boost the average income by a single percent.

"We're confused by these reassignments," parent Amy Caulfield said.

School leaders say their diversity plan makes all schools healthy. Families hope the school board takes a closer look at its plan and makes changes so they don't have to change schools.

Millbrook families say it doesn't make sense to send so many students away when taxpayers just spent a lot of money on renovations here creating more space for students.

Something the school board will consider before its final vote on the plan next month.


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