Broughton could lose its magnet program

The Wake County school board may decide today to remove the magnet program from Broughton High School to appease families who don't want to be moved out of the school to make way for magnet students.

Several school board members say they'd support allowing Broughton's magnet status to be voted on today. Since Broughton isn't on the meeting agenda, it would take a two-thirds majority, usually six members, to allow a vote today.

Once on the agenda, it would only require a simple majority to approve any vote.

Several board members stressed that they're not saying they'd necessarily vote to remove the magnet program. But they said they'd be willing to allow for a vote to occur.

"If enough of my colleagues feel it's important enough to bring back up, I wouldn't want to stop the discussion," said Kevin Hill, vice chairman of the school board.

School board member Eleanor Goettee said that any decision to remove Broughton's magnet program needs to be made today to give time for it to be incorporated into the reassignment plan. School administrators will present a revised reassignment plan to the school board on Dec. 16.

In an informal vote on Oct. 21, the board unanimously agreed to leave Broughton as a magnet school but told staff to increase the percentage of magnet students.

Magnet students account for 29 percent of Broughton's enrollment, compared with 66 percent at Enloe High and 70 percent at Southeast Raleigh. Because of the lack of seats, only 38 percent of the magnet applicants were accepted into Broughton this year.

The school offers the International Baccalaureate program, which provides a rigorous academic program with standards recognized and accepted worldwide.

Under the draft reassignment plan released last month, Broughton would lose 593 students over the next three years. The school would see a net loss of 243 students that would allow the magnet percentage to rise to 40 percent.

Many parents of students who wouldn't be able to attend Broughton under the draft plan have urged the board to remove the school's magnet program and to give it to Millbrook High School. They've said Broughton, on Peace Street near Cameron Village in Raleigh, is healthy enough that the magnet program is no longer needed.

The regular board meeting begins at 3 p.m. at 3600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.

While Goettee said she'll back allowing a revote today, she said she's on the fence about removing Broughton's magnet program.

"I've got to have a really strong reason to switch a vote," Goettee said.