This is just out from the good people at Great Schools in Wake:
Contacts: Yevonne Brannon/Patty Williams FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PUBLIC MISTRUST CONTINUES TO BUILD OVER STUDENT ASSIGNMENT PLAN
Raleigh, NC—February 17, 2012— Great Schools in Wake (GSIW) is again calling for a full public disclosure of the detailed financial analysis behind the new “choice” student assignment plan. The latest proposal tied to the new assignment plan —a new busing system that significantly affects bell schedules—boasts a theoretical cost savings based on the old assignment plan, without demonstrating how it will offset the undocumented costs of the new.
“Superintendent Tata’s actions continue to erode the public’s trust. The plan he rushed through is starting to show signs of real inadequacy, but rather than responding to the community’s concerns in a comprehensive way, he is forging ahead,” said Yevonne Brannon, Chair, GSIW. “He presented the new transportation plan to the public as if it were a ‘done deal’—despite the fact that the Board has yet to vote on it. This is a clear violation of Board policy, which states, ‘adequate data and back-up information shall be provided to assist the Board in reaching sound and objective decisions consistent with established goals.’ We can only conclude that the proposed transportation plan is a smoke screen designed to mask the significant, undocumented costs of the new assignment plan. We simply cannot calculate the savings without knowing the full costs.”
To date, any discussion of costs has been piecemeal. From the outset, Superintendent Tata indicated there would be more busing under the new assignment plan, and there is no doubt that inefficient assignment patterns drive transportation costs upward. Because neighbors are no longer assigned together in a cohesive manner, more busing is inevitable. Now, the newest child in a neighborhood will be capped out of their closest school and forced to “choose” a more distant school. Additional costs include significant consulting fees and software charges, incentives required to attract teachers to new high poverty schools, and more.
The student assignment plan was approved in October after ignoring long-established established avenues for engaging the public, including soliciting feedback through Board Advisory Councils, PTAs, and public meetings. The process for introducing the new transportation plan has similarly shut out the public. The only avenue for feedback on the transportation plan was a weeklong, online survey, conducted after many families had already selected school options for their children and cannot now make changes.
“This is neither a family-friendly plan, nor a community-friendly process,” continued Brannon. “In the interest of all Wake County residents, we are asking that our School Board demand a full disclosure of assignment and transportation plan details before any more costly decisions are made. It is time for the Board to take back the reins and rebuild trust with the community.”
About Great Schools in Wake Coalition:
A project of WakeUP Wake County, Great Schools in Wake Coalition (GSIW) is a community coalition of organizations, business leaders, parents and citizen advocates who are working to ensure educational excellence in the Wake County Public School System. GSIW’s mission is to provide accurate information to educate the public about policy initiatives that would impact the quality of education, foster well-informed discussions about critical education issues, and advocate for policies that improve public education in Wake County. For more information on the Coalition or to join, please visit: greatschoolsinwake.org.