The Board of Education is now considering reassignments for 2011-12, the final year of the current Multi-Year Assignment Plan (“MYAP”). The Board will hold public hearings on the proposed reassignments in January, and it will implement the changes in February.
A majority of the Board has beaten back efforts to toss the plan out the window and reassign thousands of low income, minority children to Southeast Raleigh for the 2011-12 year. But there will still be significant reassignments, and they will still differ from those proposed three years ago.
Why? There are several reasons. A new elementary school will open, and it must be filled. At the same time, growth has slowed, so the originally scheduled reassignments would create some issues at the original sending schools. And finally, because socioeconomic diversity has been eliminated from consideration in assignment, and other criteria like stability have been emphasized, staff must consider these new criteria in recommending changes to the MYAP.
Staff recommends changing the base assignments for approximately 3,516 students for the 2011-12 school year. Only 507 (14%) of these students are being recommended for the moves called for by the existing Multi-Year Assignment Plan. The number is approximate because WCPSS supplied the Student Assignment Committee with node data for 2010, not projections for 2011-12, and the data for nodes 058.1, 238.1, 368.5, 437.5, 506.9, 507.1, and 759.0 appears to be missing.
Of the students recommended for base moves, approximately 2,651 (75%) are black or hispanic and approximately 1,946 (55%) qualify for free or reduced lunch. The number is approximate for the reasons stated above plus (1) ethnic group data is provided for the entire node, not each schooling level, so the number of black and hispanic middle schoolers, for example, can only be estimated; and (2) Growth Management no longer has direct access to FRL data, so these percentages are estimated by the school system.
Some of the students recommended for moves were not slated for moves in the original multi-year assignment plan. Others were slated to move, but to a school other than the school now recommended.
In addition to the totals discussed above, some students were originally slated for moves but no longer are; application acceptances would be reduced or eliminated at five magnets; and the calendar application schools would change for a number of nodes. Staff indicates that 411 calendar application students would be affected by the proposed changes. I do not have the data to consider this aspect of the proposal.
In addition to the staff recommendations, the Board is proposing to reassign 197 more children who are disproportionately poor (60%) and either black or hispanic (69%).
Reassignment of another 1,627 children is “under consideration.” These children are predominantly white and affluent. Presumably someone in one of these nodes actually requested these changes. I guess these children will be sent letters that say something like, “We don’t know what we are going to do with you, but if you have a thought, let us know.”
A few moves (approximately 161 kids) on this “under consideration” list would return poor and minority children to Garner from Middle Creek. They were proposed by the receiving school’s representative (Mr. Tedesco) rather than the sending school’s representative (Dr. McLaurin). This appears to be an effort to further crowd Garner High so that the Board will have to revisit (again) the reassignment of thousands of poor and minority children to Southeast Raleigh.
Finally, staff have asked the Board for guidance regarding an additional 586 students they would like to move, because those students have all been moved recently. The rationale for these moves has not yet been made clear. The students staff proposes to move are again disproportionately black or hispanic (82%) and disproportionately recipients of a free or reduced price lunch (69%). I do not know what type of notice, if any, these families will receive.
Adverse School Effects
The proposed moves serve a number of valid and salutary purposes, like filling a new school and relieving crowding. But some of them raise issues we should all be concerned about. There may be significant adverse effects I did not notice, but here are the ones I did.
The changes proposed by staff would open our newest elementary school, Walnut Creek, as one of our highest poverty schools (66%) with a population that is 92% black or hispanic.
The changes proposed or under consideration would also add about 380 students to the base at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School. These students are largely black or hispanic (81%) and eligible for free or reduced price lunch (64%). Thirty-nine percent of the students at Southeast Raleigh are already eligible for a free or reduced price lunch.
The changes proposed or under consideration would also add about 197 students at Daniels Middle School, 81% of whom are eligible for a free lunch and 94% of whom are black or hispanic.
Fox Road Elementary, already a high poverty (73%), underresourced school, would take an additional 135 students, 74% of whom are eligible for a free or reduced price lunch and 52% of whom are black or hispanic.
Magnet applications would be reduced or eliminated at four magnets: Brooks, Douglas, Farmington Woods, and Wiley. Wiley would take no applications at all but would simply take kindergarten siblings.
Public hearings on the proposed changes are scheduled as follows:
- 1/10-Cary High School, 638 Walnut Street, Cary, NC 27511
- 1/11-Millbrook Magnet High School, 2201 Spring Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27615
- 1/13-Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Road, Wake Forest, NC 27587
- 1/19-Southeast Raleigh High School, 2600 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh, NC 27610
- 1/20-Garner Magnet High School, 2101 Spring Drive, Garner, NC 27529
Each hearing begins at 6:00 p.m. Speakers will be heard in the order they have signed up. Signup will eventually be online if you want to signup in advance. If you have an opinion, come to the hearings and make sure your voice is heard.