School board denies discrimination

March 29, 2011 3:24:46 PM PDT
A news release from the Wake County Board of Education Tuesday says it has denied allegations of discrimination in response to an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

The federal agency launched an investigation last year after the NAACP filed a complaint alleging the board is in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The NAACP claims Wake's school assignment policies violate that law which says that the recipients of federal funds cannot discriminate on basis of race, color or national origin.

In its response, the school board says "there is no evidence that any of their decisions about student assignment policies or procedures were motivated by racial animus."

"Viewed objectively, the record reflects a group of school board members uniformly committed to the educational progress of all Wake County students, grappling with complex policy questions, and reaching different conclusions in good faith about the best way to achieve their common goal," the response continues.

The board denies it has adopted a "neighborhood schools" assignment policy, and that a student's proximity to a school is just one of seven factors used to decide if he/she should go there.

New Superintendent Tony Tata says a new overall assignment plan is still under development.

"I asked for, and was given, the responsibility of developing a student assignment plan. Our team is creating a long-term, comprehensive proposal that includes the input that we have received from all segments of this community representing all points of view," said Tata in a statement.

The news release says a task force developing a new student assignment plan is expected to present it to the board for review, input, and approval in late spring.

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