Wake Ed

Wake County to hold public hearing on student assignment plan

Cary Park families attend the Oct. 4, 2016 Wake County school board meeting to ask that students not be moved from Mills Park Elementary School to the new Hortons Creek Elementary School.
Cary Park families attend the Oct. 4, 2016 Wake County school board meeting to ask that students not be moved from Mills Park Elementary School to the new Hortons Creek Elementary School. khui@newsobserver.com

Upset Cary parents will call on the Wake County school board Tuesday night to make changes to the new student assignment plan.

School administrators released the third draft of the 2017-18 student assignment plan on Friday and scheduled the public hearing for around 6 p.m. at today’s school board meeting. Student assignment staff are still recommending reassigning students from Blackstone at Amberly and part of Cary Park from Mills Park Elementary School to the new Hortons Creek Elementary.

Administrators say Blackstone and Cary Park need to be removed to reduce crowding at Mills Park Elementary to 120 percent of its capacity next school year. If they stay, staff says crowding would be at 135 percent.

At this point, any changes in the assignment plan would be made by the board and not by staff.

“We are deeply disappointed with the Staff's Draft 3 Recommendation to separate Cary Park/Blackstone from the rest of Cary Park at MPES,” said an email sent Sunday to school board members from a group called “Concerned Parents of Cary Park and Blackstone Children.” “We note with considerable concern the numbers cited in the recommendation, specifically as these numbers are inconsistent with data presented in prior Staff presentations.”

School leaders also want feedback on two options from staff to deal with how some current fourth-grade Mills Park students could go to four different schools in four years. Options include keeping the students together as a group when they’re reassigned to a new middle school opening in 2019 or letting them grandfather in 2019 to stay at Mills Park Middle.

Staff will make a presentation on draft three during the board work session. Also during the work session:

▪ Staff will give a presentation on how to spend $1.7 million in one-time bonus money from the state for non-educators. The money can’t be used for across-the-board raises so staff wants to target it on people who are making $15 or less an hour;

▪ Board members will hear a panel of teachers talk about how the Strategic Plan is impacting the classroom.

During the regular meeting, the board will vote on requesting state permission to allow 10 academically struggling schools to have the same flexibility from state rules and regulations that are given to charter schools.

Administrators briefed a board committee on the proposal Monday. It’s scheduled to be on Tuesday’s consent agenda but could be moved to the action agenda to allow for discussion before the vote.

Other items on the regular meeting agenda include:

▪ Initial adoption of a revised policy on lesson planning;

▪ Initial adoption of a revised policy on grouping of students;

▪ Initial adoption of a new policy on copyright compliance;

▪ Approval of state-mandated improvement plans for schools designated as low-performing. Last year, the school board objected to the state’s definition of low-performing schools by unanimously abstaining on approving the plans.

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