Broughton will keep IB program despite losing its magnet status

Staff WritersMay 19, 2010 

  • It looks like Wake County students won't be getting out early on Wednesdays at all for the upcoming school year.

    The school board voted 6-2 Tuesday to send students home 2.5 hours early on six Fridays a year instead of the Wednesdays now used for these early release days.

    Tuesday's vote came after an earlier vote in December to end the weekly one-hour early dismissals that critics had called Wacky Wednesdays.

    Schools will replace the weekly Wednesday meeting with a new set of options such as meeting before or after school or during the school day. Some schools won't be able to meet every week or for an hour at a time as mandated under current board policy.

    As for the 2.5 early release days, members of the school board's ruling majority said Fridays would be more family friendly than Wednesdays.

    Staff writer T. Keung Hui

— Wake County school board members voted 7-1 on Tuesday to allow Broughton High School to keep its International Baccalaureate program even though it is losing its status as a magnet school.

Historically, offerings such as the International Baccalaureate program have been exclusively offered by magnet schools, but board members said Tuesday that Broughton deserves to keep the program. Some parents and board members warned the decision would promote inequity and hurt magnet schools.

"We've got a school that we've invested millions of dollars in," said school board member John Tedesco. "We can continue to keep that program competitive for a nominal maintenance cost."

The old board had voted in December 2008 to phase out Broughton's International Baccalaureate program and to create a new one at Millbrook High School. The IB program provides an academically rigorous curriculum that stresses global understanding, cultural awareness and community service.

But Broughton parents who had opposed the decision to remove the IB program hadn't given up. They've been lobbying the board members elected last fall.

Tedesco said Broughton, located near Cameron Village in Raleigh, needs the IB program to stay competitive with nearby private schools.

The program would primarily be for Broughton's neighborhood students, but board members talked about letting other students transfer into the school if they want the IB program.

The IB program is currently funded at Broughton through 2012-13. The board would have to decide at a later date if it wanted to provide the $180,000 a year cost to keep the program.

School board member Kevin Hill warned that keeping the IB program at Broughton would hurt similar programs at Millbrook and Garner high schools. He also said it would create fairness issues with other schools that would want money for programs to stay competitive with other schools.

"We need to look at equity here," Hill said. "What kind of precedent are we setting here?"

keung.hui@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4534

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