At the school board meeting on August 28, the Democratic board members out-voted the Republicans 5-4 in a vote for a new school assignment plan for the 2013-14 school year.
The Republican school board members voted to keep the choice school assignment plan in place; the Democrats voted for a new idea similar to the plan Wake County had in the past.
The choice plan, according to the Choice Assignment Plan Fact website, “…puts parents, not the school system, in charge of choosing the school their child will attend.” Families choose schools with feeder patterns they like and schools that are close to their home.
The current plan also appeals to families new to the school system and families who want to change their student’s future schools.
Critics of the policy state complex web of bus routes needed to sustain the choice plan strains the transportation budget, increases concentration of lower income families in a certain schools and troubles in families understanding how the plan actually works.
Families who defend the plan point out that it has barely even started and that the board has to give time for the plan to be in effect before changing it.
The new, undefined plan will be similar to the diversity plan Wake County had previously: giving each home address a certain school, promoting diversity and encouraging socio-economic equality.
Board members were instructed to devise a plan for an address-based student assignment plan for the next school year. According to the News and Observer, “they were asked to write a plan to reduce how often students are reassigned, to let students go to school ‘within a reasonable distance’ of their homes and to set targets for student achievement at schools.”