Published: Mar 31, 2012 11:22 PM
Modified: Mar 31, 2012 11:24 PM
Wake delays placing students
Families on round one waiting lists now won’t be placed until April 9
CARY - Wake County schools’ new choice-based assignment system continued to face pointed complaints last week – from accusations that officials misrepresented some schools’ capacity numbers to a new two-week delay for some students to learn their assignment for next year.However, Wake officials said about 14,000, or 74 percent, of first-round applicants got their first choice under the new system. Superintendent Tony Tata said that people who are unhappy represent a minority of parents in the 147,000-student system but that each complaint is important and will be addressed.Some Wake parents who applied to specific schools in the first round, believing system figures that showed at least a few seats were available, said Tuesday they were shocked to learn that some of the schools already had as many as 50 more applicants than seats.“We’ve been more transparent than any assignment plan that we’ve had from Wake County,” said Tata, a chief architect of the plan.Most of the nearly 30 speakers during a public-comment period raised complaints about the new plan, including Raleigh resident Lee Hogewood and others, who dressed in black to denote their families’ “unassigned” status.“Nobody publicized this possibility,” said Hogewood, whose son hasn’t yet been assigned to a middle school for sixth grade. “These unassigned students are being treated like collateral damage.“They deserve better. They deserve better.”Schools officials said the notification on first-round choices was pushed back because the number of students on waiting lists for placement in regular schools won’t be final until April 9. The lists are being shuffled to reflect new information on choices, including the effect of 233 students placed at magnet schools March 23, opening up slots at regular schools. The end of round two of the selection process has been extended past the April 9 closing date to 10 p.m. April 12. The notification of the results of round two has also been pushed back, to April 26.The capacity issue arose out of online data available to parents during the first round of the new choice system. The Wake website said that several schools had “five or fewer” or “three or fewer” slots available.Updated information now lists negative seats at some schools, showing how few spots are open. Magnet school applicants learned March 23 whether they had been accepted. But school officials say they won’t be able to keep their goal of a Monday posting to show which students from the round one wait lists would take the slots emptied by magnet-school students.School officials said the reason for the delay is that parents have until April 9 to turn down their place on wait lists for the first round.