Wake County unveils new assignment plan

November 13, 2012 3:30:37 PM PST
The Wake County School Board is unveiling its new student assignment plan.

The school district says it will only impact about 1 percent of students, but for those 1,500 children, another shakeup could be in store.

School board member Dr. Jim Martin says the reason for the short-term plan is the addition of three new schools.

The proposed assignment plan for next year is not permanent, but instead a plan to keep as many students in place as possible. It is also a way for the Democratic-majority board to move away from the Republican choice plan.

"We needed to put the brakes on choice, because every time another student comes in through choice, we have to create a whole new bus route," Martin said.

Martin told ABC11 the choice plan was costing the school system an extra $2 million a year in transportation alone.

The school board will vote on the proposed short-term assignment plan in mid-December, but it still has to come up with a long-term plan for two years from now.

Next year the board could see a major political shift. Three conservatives are up for re-election and another will have already been replaced, likely by a liberal.

Once Chris Malone leaves, his seat will be voted on by the board.

The possibility of four seats swinging to the left would come at a critical time, as officials create the long-term assignment policy.

Board members on both sides of the aisle weighed in on what that could mean for the future of the Wake County school system.

"Conservative, liberal, don't make any difference to me.  I want voices of experience and voices who are looking out for the best interests of the students," Martin said.

Republican board member Deborah Pickett echoed Martin's sentiments.

"I'm not fighting for like-party politics, I'm fighting for the families and if the families decide they want to go in another direction, then I'm here to represent them," Pickett told ABC11.

As for next year, students have the option to stay in their current school or attend the school that's tied to their home address. There is also the option of going to a magnet school.

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