Wake staff urging few reassignments next year

khui@newsobserver.comOctober 30, 2012 

  • Gainey’s contract extended The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to extend Stephen Gainey’s contract as temporary superintendent through Dec. 31. Gainey, the district’s assistant superintendent in charge of human resources, was tapped to fill in when Superintendent Tony Tata was fired by the board’s Democratic majority on Sept. 25. Gainey, whose annual salary is $120,000, is getting paid an additional $3,000 a month in salary and $750 a month in travel expenses. School board chairman Kevin Hill has said he wants to hold off on starting the superintendent search until after next week’s elections when three of the Republican members are running for state office. If any of them win, they would need to resign. Hill says he would want their successors, who would be appointed by the board, to be involved in the search.

— Some Wake County school board members pushed Tuesday for looking at a few more tweaks to next year’s student assignment plan as school administrators urged them to keep reassignments to a minimum. School board members have agreed to use the attendance lines from the 2011-12 school year as the starting point for a 2013-14 plan that would move relatively few students. Any large-scale changes would be planned for the 2014-15 school year.

But school board member Jim Martin asked school assignment staff to add a few more “hot spots” to look at for the plan that will be presented to the school board on Nov. 13. He urged them where possible to consider some moves to balance student achievement levels at schools.

“Let’s look at bringing neighborhoods together and evening achievement,” Martin said.

Martin is part of the new Democratic board majority that took office after last fall’s election and voted in June to tell the staff to scrap the choice-based student assignment plan that’s being used this year.

The new plan calls for a return to assigning each address to a specific school. Amid questions about how to get a plan in place quickly for next year, the board opted Oct. 4 to delay asking staff to do a comprehensive overhaul of attendance lines.

Fellow Democratic board member Susan Evans said Tuesday she agreed that they can look at a few “egregious” assignments to change next year.

Temporary Superintendent Stephen Gainey advised against complicating the plan for staff by throwing in too many variables, such as student achievement assignments, for next year.

Laura Evans, senior director of growth and planning, said the plan will be heavily focused on northeastern Wake County to fill two new schools opening next year and two schools that opened this year under the choice plan.

In other parts of the county, Laura Evans said they’re looking at reducing overcrowding at some schools by capping enrollment to prevent new students from attending rather than by reassigning students.

“We’re really going with minimal reassignments in the bulk of our proposal to you,” Laura Evans said.

Board members agreed to hold a series of meetings, dates and locations to be determined, to get public comment before the plan is adopted. The final vote is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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