Wake student assignment info released

khui@newsobserver.comSeptember 21, 2012 

WSKULS-NE-091812-TEL

Wake school board member Jim Martin asks questions during a presentation of a new student assignment plan proposal during a Wake County school board meeting Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at the Wake County Board of Education building in Cary.

TRAVIS LONG — tlong@newsobserver.com

  • More information LOOK UP YOUR SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT Plug in you address on a link at the top of www.wcpss.net to see your possible 2013-14 school assignment.

Wake County families can now go online to see what their possible school assignments will be for the 2013-14 school year.

The link allowing families to search for their draft school assignments by plugging in their address went live around 8 p.m. Friday — long past the 5 p.m. release time because of technical issues. Families can find the link at the top of the district’s homepage, www.wcpss.net.

People should be patient, because the website is expected to be busy with many families of the more than 150,000 students in the district wanting to look up the information. Parents can also go online to learn more about the assignment plan and to provide comments, which will be accepted until 5 p.m. Oct. 19.

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Today’s action came after a heated argument at Tuesday’s school board meeting about whether it’s premature to release the information. School board chairman Kevin Hill gave the approval Thursday for school administrators to release the address lookup information.

Hill said that he had no problem with releasing the information now but that parents should realize that the draft assignments could change by the time the board adopts the final plan.

“What parents and the media have to understand is this is in draft stage,” Hill said Thursday.

While the address lookup feature is going live, the proposed attendance maps for each school aren’t being released yet. School officials say the maps will be released after the board reviews them at an upcoming work session.

The three new Democratic school board members who were elected last fall said Tuesday that they want the opportunity to view the maps before they’re released to the public. They also argued that what they need, for now, is public comment on the concepts in the plan and not on the individual assignments.

“If we just issue the attendance maps right off the bat, we’ll get lost in the minute detail of who likes their specific assignment and who doesn’t,” said board member Susan Evans on Tuesday.

But all four Republican board members argued for releasing the information as soon as possible.

“It’s a wise choice,” board member Chris Malone said Thursday of Hill’s decision. “People want to know what’s going on.”

On Tuesday, school administrators released a plan that returns to tying each address to a specific school to provide families some sense of certainty of which school they’ll be attending. Real estate agents had also complained that the choice plan being used this school year makes it difficult to assure potential buyers that they will get a desirable school.

The new assignment plan lets students stay at their current school. Students will keep their current bus service unless they are assigned to two new schools opening next year – Abbotts Creek Elementary in North Raleigh and Rolesville High – and choose not to attend.

Based on a directive passed in June by the Democratic board majority, the new plan is built on the principles of student achievement, stability and proximity.

On Tuesday, some board members said components such as the student achievement portion – designed to try to keep schools from having too many low-performing students – weren’t fleshed-out enough. As a result, the board agreed to postpone the five public hearings that were set to begin next week.

A board attorney also advised members that policy changes would have to be passed before the plan could be adopted. It’s making it less likely that the board will be able to make the proposed Oct. 30 deadline for adopting the plan.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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