The shot across the bow for the WCPSS came in December 2008 when a parent asked the Board of Education to show the data that busing for diversity helps low income students. Since then we have had five years of political shenanigans that are worthy of a Bob Woodward expose.
Our turning point was the politically motivated firing of an effective superintendent, Tony Tata, and the hiring of an expensive protector of the status quo and old boys network, James Merrill. This and the USDA waiver ensure that the district will move forward with its draconian return to forced busing and the projection of “healthy schools” without urban decay. What will be hidden is the hemorrhaging of high-income students from base schools as forced busing returns.
The public is blissfully unaware that a third of our schools are under-enrolled, thanks to “adjusted” capacity numbers. WCPSS market share is now 80 percent, and the national tipping point is 75 percent, the point at which mass exodus is unstoppable.
We are at the edge of the cliff. In hindsight we will have to ask whether we could have made a better choice for superintendent, one who solved problems rather than hid them with busing.