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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: October 30, 2011

If you're wondering what your child's choices are for public school in Wake County for the 2012-2013 school year, you can preview them now on Wake County Public School System website at assignment.wcpss.net.

Once you've navigated to the site, choose the "Preview School Choices" tab, and enter your address to see your child's new options. You'll find you have at least five elementary, two middle and two high schools. You can also see which magnet programs are now available to your child. This preview is not part of the school-choice selection process, which will happen later in the school year, and adjustments may be made in the coming weeks as WCPSS technicians finalize the programming and data sets that produce the choice lists.

In January, WCPSS will publish the choice application website that will show complete functionality, to include the actual distance of each school from a family's address, available seats at each proximity choice, real-time numbers of requests for seats by grade level, and other key information.

The new options come after the Wake County Board of Education placed its stamp of approval on a new choice-based assignment plan on Oct. 18. The new assignment plan moves Wake County away from its long-standing assignment method that bused students for socio-economic diversity.

But the change may not be a done deal. The fate of the new choice assignment practice lies in the make-up of the Board of Education, which is still undecided after recent elections. The District 3 seat will be decided in a runoff election set for Nov. 8. Although the board is supposed to be nonpartisan, Democratic members have been voting in favor of the diversity plan while Republications have supported the choice plan. Now, the board is split equally among four Republicans and four Democrats, so the decision about Wake County assignment policies hinges on who will fill the District 3 seat, Democratic incumbent Kevin Hill or Republican challenger Heather Losurdo.

Many people across the nation have been following the contentious debate over the past two years and are now watching to see what will happen next. But for Wake County parents, the issue is personal. We know that school shapes the people we become. Strong academic standards, playmates from diverse backgrounds, and schools that are close to home matter. They allow us to get involved in school and to expand our views of the world.  Let's hope that all parents show up to vote on Nov. 8.





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