Wake Ed

Wake County school board approves enrollment caps and graduation goal

Here’s a recap of today’s meeting of the Wake County school board – minus the administrative appointments that may still come – where everything from enrollment caps to strategic plans to teacher pay raises was discussed.

• The board approved

enrollment caps on 10 schools for the 2015-16 school year

. The board delayed a vote on capping Enloe High School after Broughton High parents complained about being Enloe’s overflow school. Board members said they still intend to cap Enloe but want to see alternatives for overflow options.

During the Enloe discussion, board members voiced support for building more schools inside the Raleigh Beltline.

• The board also adopted

Vision 2020

, a new strategic plan that includes the goal of having at least 95 percent of students graduating high school by 2020. The current graduation rate is 82.9 percent. Board member Bill Fletcher called it a “comprehensive plan to change education Wake County.”

• During the work session, the board reviewed

the different options

for families who want to change their school assignment for the 2015-16 school year. Parents don’t have to do anything if they’re satisfied with what they got in the initial notice of school assignment slip sent home last week.

No changes are proposed in the magnet and calendar application lotteries. But Wake staff want to go from operating two waiting lists to just one waiting list – dropping the one from June – for those students not initially placed.

School board chairwoman Christine Kushner promised an in-depth review before a decision is made to just have one waiting list – the main one in April.

• The board reviewed

a proposal to consolidate East Wake High School

from four small schools back to one school for the 2015-16 school year. A working group will be formed to develop a new design for East Wake that would go into effect for the 2016-17 school.

The proposal to have staff reapply to stay at East Wake in 2016 drew concerns. Eastern Area Superintendent Ed McFarland said the purpose is not to get ride of staff but board member Susan Evans said it would give the impression that the staff is to blame for East Wake’s small schools not reaching their goals.

• The board reviewed three options for using $3.75 million from the county commissioners to raise teacher pay. Board members supported

option 3

, which would target the raises more at veteran teachers and special-education teachers. But before a final vote in February, the board asked staff what would be the impact of including all certified staff , particularly guidance counselors, in that raise pool.

• The board discussed the items that members want to be areas of focus in the 2015-16 budget being developed by staff. The

wish list

includes raising teacher pay to the national average by 2018. With such a long list, Superintendent Jim Merrill asked board members to individually rank for him their top three items they want included in the budget.

• The board discussed a proposal recommended by the government relations committee to form a municipal growth task force to work with the municipalities and county to study the impact of growth on education. While school board members appeared supportive of forming the task force, they said they wanted to discuss the idea first with county commissioners at Monday’s joint meeting.