School assignment plan moves to next phase

April 18, 2012 2:18:33 PM PDT
Hundreds of families expressed frustration over the results of the new Wake County Schools assignment policy Monday.

The district's new choice-based student assignment plan lets families pick from a list of school choices rather than assigning students based on their address. After the first round Friday, families of more than 200 children said their child was not assigned to a school, some got their fourth or fifth choice, and some have sons and daughters going to two different elementary schools.

School officials said families should wait another week before making another move.

Stough Elementary School in Raleigh was the fourth choice for the Gastmeyer family. However, it's the school they ended up with after the first round of the selection process.

"I was not surprised that I did not get my first choice because I know that school is in demand but I was surprised that instead of getting my second or third choice, I got my fourth," said Audrey Gastmeyer.

Gastmeyer's son, who is a rising kindergartener, is now tenth on a waiting list to get into a magnet school and 45th on the list to get into his first choice school.

Gastmeyer has questions for school leaders.

"What could the outcomes be from the second round, and am I better off sitting tight," she asked.

Waiting may be best according to Wake County's chief transformation officer.

Judy Peppler is in charge of the selection process and said magnet seats are being filled this week which will change things up.

"If you have a pretty good wait list number, that you wait until the end of the week until we've gone through process of seating magnet students and back filling with proximity students and see where you are then," said Peppler. "Maybe you're not 15. Maybe you're five, or maybe you get in."

However, if you don't like your wait list number or want to select different schools altogether, families should take part in round two.

New this time around, families with elementary students will see two additional schools for a total of seven to choose from.

While some parents have been outraged and disappointed, Gastmeyer felt lucky she at least likes all of her options.

"My fourth choice school is a great school," said Gastmeyer. "It's just that it wasn't my first, or my second, or my third."

Round two of the selection went live Monday. Click here for more information from the Wake County Public School System's web site.

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