New student assignment plan options will be released to the public May 23, Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata said Friday.
Tata’s student assignment task force has considered nine plans, but only two received the group’s endorsement and are considered the two finalists. Those two meet the 18 criteria for a good plan, including Tata’s often mentioned priority of student achievement.
Tata is not giving specific details about the plans before their release, but he outlined the basic structure of the two finalists.
One plan, dubbed the Blue Plan under the task force’s color-coding system, is a community-based choice plan, Tata said.
“It has some of the Alves plan in it,” he said, referring to the Wake School Choice Plan developed by consultant Michael Alves. “When you talk about a community-based plan, proximity to home is the No. 1 driver.”
The plan isn’t strictly location based.
“The issue with a strict base plan is, if every student today went to the nearest school, 50-some schools would be at 150 percent of capacity,” he added. “About an equal number would be at 50 percent of capacity.”
The second plan, dubbed the Green Plan, is a balanced base plan in which “student achievement is a recommended driver for some assignments,” Tata said.
The task force is still working out the kinks. For instance, the Green Plan as it stands now would leave about 11,500 students in limbo, given caps on magnet school enrollment.
Determining where those students would go and for what reasons is key to making the Green Plan work.
The district will post to its website all nine of the plans that Tata’s task force have considered.
The Blue Plan and Green Plan will feature functionality that allows parents to type in their addresses and find school options under each plan.
“For the seven that didn’t make it to the final round you’ll be able to read why they didn’t make it,” Tata said. “You’ll be able to see all 22 school districts that we researched.”
Superintendent Tata continues canvassing of Wake County state senators and representatives to ask that they hold to no more than a 5 percent cut in education funding. He has also met with Speaker of the House Thom Tillis.
“I’ve been delivering the message that 8.8 percent is too much,” said Tata, referring to the education cuts passed by the North Carolina House of Representatives. “I want them to understand the impact of these proposed draconian cuts in education.
Among the cuts is $25 million in funding for teacher assistants.
“We’re looking at contingency planning to see where we can make tradeoffs,” said Tata. “Until I have a number I cannot make definite statements.”
Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget plan included a 5 percent cut to education. The state Senate has yet to pass a budget proposal.