Following a wave of community feedback, Wake County’s second take on a student assignment proposal for 2015-16 includes more than a dozen changes that families have requested.
Student assignment staff dropped some reassignments that were part of the first draft or modified them to let students stay at their current school. School board members say the revised plan, presented at Tuesday’s school board work session, shows staff is listening to people’s concerns.
“The staff has done an excellent job of looking closely at all at that feedback and responding where they could, where it made sense,” said board member Susan Evans.
As a fast-growing district of 155,000 students, Wake County historically has reassigned thousands of students each year.
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Administrators identified at least 14 changes from the original proposal, including:
• Dropping having Laurel Park Elementary School students feed into Lufkin Road Middle School and Olive Chapel Elementary School students feed into Salem Middle School.
• Allowing MacArthur Park families in Cary to have Davis Drive elementary and middle schools as their traditional-calendar options.
• Allowing Haddon Hall families in Apex to have Baucom Elementary School as their traditional-calendar option.
• Allowing the 27 freshmen in Apex High School’s Academy of Information Technology who could be reassigned to Apex Friendship High to stay at the school, without bus service.
“Everybody loves their current school,” said Laura Evans, Wake’s senior director of student assignment.
But administrators said they were still unable to provide a figure on how many students could be moved in the newest version of the plan, or if the number of students affected was larger or smaller than the first draft.
The district holds the first of four community meetings on Thursday at 6:30 p.m at Wake Forest High School and is taking more online comments. School leaders said there would be more changes in a third draft in November, with a vote likely in December.
In August, staff unveiled the first draft of the plan that they say focuses primarily on filling new schools, reducing crowding at existing schools and reducing the number of families with children on different calendars. The plan mostly affects Apex, North Raleigh and Wake Forest.
The proposal drew more than 4,000 responses on the district’s assignment website ranging from complaints to praises.
Laura Evans said the feedback showed they had inadvertently split some neighborhoods between different schools, which they tried to correct in the second draft. Comments also showed the first draft resulted in mistakes such as middle school moves for Laurel Park and Olive Chapel elementary schools.
In some cases, Evans said, the changes parents wanted were so minimal they were able to make them, such as allowing Apex’s Waterford Green and Waterford East neighborhoods to stay at Penny Road Elementary.
In other cases, she said said they came up with compromises that would allow students to stay at their current school even though their neighborhoods are still recommended for reassignment.
But Laura Evans some requests couldn’t be included, such as many Holly Springs families’ desire to drop most of the proposed reassignments to Apex Friendship High.