Families say Wake school selection problems are hurting students
Updated: Updated 04/13/2012 09:30 PM
By: Heather Moore
RALEIGH -- Student assignment was a hot topic Friday during Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata's weekly media briefing.
Tata said the selection process worked well for the majority of families, but admitted there have been some issues.
Some families worry those issues with the school selection process could keep their kids from getting the classes they need next year.
Bella Taylor is a rising ninth grader. She's coming back to Wake County Public School System after graduating from her K-8 charter school. She participated in the first round of school selections.
“I was given three choices for schools,” she said. “We picked our closest school which is what it said to do.”
But Bella didn't get any of her choices. As of right now, she doesn't have a school assignment next year.
After the first school selection round, more than 200 students were left without school assignments, nearly 60 of them are rising ninth graders.
“I don't think anybody intentionally mishandled the choice plan, but there are glitches in the system and there are definite admitted errors in the algorithm and how it was applied,” said Bella's mother, Eileen. “We're not asking to be ahead of anybody. We just need a seat to begin with.”
The Taylor family said rising ninth graders not having a school assignment is a serious problem because incoming freshman are already registering for their high school classes
“I'm worried that by the time I do get a school, none of the classes I want to take will be available,” Bella said.
Tata admits capacity issues at many schools has led to long waiting lists and frustrated families trying to get into schools close to home.
“Adherance to capacity limits has created longer waiting lists than we would have liked and families who are not yet assigned were made to wait longer than we expected,” he said. “That has created anxiety and that was certainly not our intent. I know that it's difficult and we're working hard to make it right.”
The Taylor family said they didn't realize not getting any of their school choices was even an option in the school choice plan.
As Bella waits for a final decision, her family worries she might be assigned to an under-chosen school in another part of the county.
All students should know their school assignments by April 26. If they don't like it, they can apply for a transfer beginning May 15.
For more on the assignment calendar, visit the Wake County Public Schools website.
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