Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Report From Tuesday's School Board Meetings

Well…my daughter and I somehow survived attending back-to back School Board meetings today, from 1:00 until we left at 4:45. In the first meeting, the board continued their discussion on criteria for choosing which schools will be converted to year-round in 2007. They also approved a probable timetable for this process, with July 18 set as the date to adopt conversion criteria, August 15 as the date when staff presents their proposal for specific schools targeted for conversion, and August 22 as the date when the board gives preliminary approval to the school selections.

The majority of the School Board emphasized the need for an immediate “information blitz” to educate the uninformed and misguided public on the issue of year-round schools. As the only speaker during the public comment portion of the 4:00 meeting, I warned board members against a one-sided presentation. If they do not include some of the research facts cited on this blog and other places, I hope that opponents of mandatory year-round schools will join me in exposing the School Board's bias.

In other news, a 4 - 3 vote removed Carol Parker as Vice Chair of the School Board, and replaced her with Rosa Gill. Patti Head remained as the Chair by unanimous consent.

Monday, June 19, 2006


The Wake County School Board will meet at 1:00 on Tuesday, June 20, to further discuss mandatory year-round school assignments. Anyone can attend, but only as a spectator. At the board’s 4:00 meeting, individuals are allowed to speak for 3 minutes if they sign up at the beginning. Both meetings will take place at the WCPSS offices on Old Wake Forest Road. Very few parents have been attending these meetings. I know how difficult it is, but please try to at least show up for a portion of the time. They need to know we are not giving up the fight against mandatory year-round schools in Wake County!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wake School Board Discusses Year-Round Conversions

Just got back from the School Board’s facilities meeting this morning – Basically, they went over the draft criteria (two postings down) and discussed how board members “ranked” the listings. It varied greatly, but all agreed that every listing is important. They also passed out a proposed timeline for deciding which schools will be converted to year-round. That timeline is included in this article from the News and Observer.

It was frustrating sitting there just listening to the discussion. It appears that no effort is being made to find alternative ways to take care of the 3,000 student “surplus”. One board member did point out that many more than 3,000 will actually have to be reassigned. Also, the possibility of year-round middle schools is still very much on the table. I have yet to hear anyone mention the irrefutable facts as to why similar attempts elsewhere have failed miserably.

The board also wants to put together a communication “blitz” (my word) of sorts because the public (teachers included) just doesn’t understand about year-round schools. Can you imagine how one-sided that information will be? Is there anyone out there who can, and will, hold the board responsible for presenting the entire package surrounding mandatory year-round conversion? Will they consult those of us who have researched the pros and cons? Indeed the tone of the conversation implied, in my opinion, that a concerted “sales job” will have to take place to convince teachers and parents that they should support the School Board’s plan. A “this is a done deal” attitude was clearly present in that room.

Please continue to contact these members. It doesn’t take long for some of them to forget that they even heard from us, and to assume that we have given up. Thanks for standing firm. I am still hoping that attacking this issue from several fronts – some very open, and some behind the scenes – will bring about some positive results. As for holding our education leaders accountable – if we don’t do it, I doubt it will happen.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

An excerpt from Keung Hui’s WakeEd Blog tonight:

“Margiotta was the lone dissenter in today’s 7-1 vote to request county commissioners to put a bond issue on the Nov. 7 ballot. Margiotta said he voted no because the $1.06 billion construction plan, most of which would be funded by the bond, would rely so much on mandatory year-round schooling.”

Draft Criteria for Year-Round Selections

At today’s Committee of the Whole meeting a handout was presented by Chuck Dulaney and the staff as a DRAFT of possible criteria for the selection of mandatory year-round schools. The N&O has a story on the meeting.

(A PDF reader is required to read the handout, the free Adobe version is available here)

Monday, June 05, 2006

For Save Our Summers-NC Supporters

URGENT REQUEST! Many of you know that the groups who so adamantly opposed the 2004 school calendar law have continued to lobby hard in hopes of watering down that law or rendering it useless. HB1464, which set August 25 and June 10 as parameters within which local school boards could plan their own calendars, has been flouted and its waiver provisions have been misused. A steady barrage of negative articles has served to mislead the public and plant doubts in their minds. As I type this, plans to change the law (so that school would start earlier in August) are being discussed. YOUR HELP IS CRUCIAL to ensure that this law – and our summers – remain intact! We are asking that you CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS by email and by phone and urge them to keep the 2004 school calendar law like it is! We have fought too long and too hard to sit back and watch our efforts go up in smoke. This needs to be done IMMEDIATELY, and in LARGE VOLUMES. Please, please share this information with everyone you can think of across the whole state of North Carolina – parents, teachers, friends, etc. YOU got the law passed – YOU can keep it intact. Thanks so much!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Very Interesting!!

Read what Chuck Dulaney (WCPSS Assistant Superintendent for Growth and Planning) had to say to ABC News with regard to mandatory year-round school attendance in Wake County. Take time to access the link and view the entire article from today. Just a sampling (referring to the traditional school calendar): “We're culturally aligned to something that has been going on for a long time,” he [Mr. Dulaney] said. “I don't think it's going on for the right reasons, it's just the way it's been done.”

A Compelling Letter From a Parent

I have no idea what I am going to do. I signed your petition and I fear that it may not be enough :o(
I saw in the paper that my child's school will be one they turn into year-round, and I know for a fact that if that school goes year-round, the school will lose A LOT of great teachers! She will be going into kindergarten this fall. I will also have a child in middle school and 2 in high school. I fear that I will have to move next year to keep my child on a traditional calendar like the one WE ALL GREW UP WITH!!
My main problem is that my ex lives far away and I am bound by a court order to turn my oldest 3 over to him for the summers and Spring breaks & after Xmas. If the schools go year round, how am I going to break the court order? I can’t afford to hire a lawyer, and believe me, their father will want them for his FULL SUMMERS!

I am beyond stressed out. My child won’t be able to attend Band Camp and Governors School. How is he going to keep his FULL TIME JOB over the summers to pay for his car insurance.
And my dad has stage 3 cancer and lives In Florida. He looks forward to us coming down in August and Thanksgivings for a few weeks at a time.

I know I have just poured my heart out to you but if you can think of anyway I can help or what should I do, please, please call me.

Thank You So Much..
Lysa Long