In light of the recent recession, many schools are being forced to cope with serious budget cuts and impending financial setbacks. As a result, some schools with more grave financial needs may be forced to either close down or shift a majority of their student population to alternative surrounding schools.
Adding to budgetary issues, many public schools are beginning to reassign students to ensure that everyone receives equal educational opportunities, regardless of one’s socioeconomic status. Ultimately, all parents are beginning to wonder: Will public schools soon reassign my child?
The New Wave of School Re-Assignments
In areas that have been severely impacted by local job loss and recession struggles, schools may be forced to cope with such setbacks by closing various campuses and / or removing teacher positions.
For example, Detroit’s automobile industry layoffs have severely hindered the local economy, and the region currently holds the nation’s highest unemployment rate. As a result, these former tax-paying residents are no longer receiving their standard income. Ultimately, without taxable steady incomes, schools lose funding, as a large portion of public school funds are provided by income and property taxes from local residents.
Adding to the burdens of local lay-offs, many unemployed workers may relocate to a new area to seek work. Not only does this reduce tax dollars contributed to school funding, but the number of students in each district falls as well. With a decrease in the student population, schools either close or begin to shuffle kids to other campuses.
Social and Economic Factors
In addition to budgetary issues, many school districts and counties are intentionally reassigning students to more effectively balance each campus’ student population. For example, Wake County Schools, located in North Carolina, has begun reassigning students to create more equality amongst varying social and economic backgrounds. Instead of segregating students based upon their residence in a low or high income area, Wake County leaders are attempting to equitably distribute the student populations. The goal is to provide equal educational opportunities to all students, as well as create a diverse campus environment.
In addition to balancing the populations, Wake County is also forced to reassign students to accommodate a large number of newly constructed schools in their area. As many Wake County regions have experienced a surge of local population growth, the county has been prompted to build new schools to meet the needs of a larger student body. Subsequently, nearly all Wake County school may be relocated to new schools. In fact, according to the News and Observer, school administrators are being forced to shift approximately 25,486 students over the period of the next three years.
Reactions to Student Reassignments
While some students and parents welcome the idea of reassignment, many other opponents assert that shifting kids only creates chaos, not solutions. As the News and Observer further reports, “Dissatisfaction about the reassignment process is not new in Wake. Parents complain every year when school leaders move thousands of students to fill new schools, ease crowding and promote diversity.”
To argue against these forced school changes, many parents have begun to form committees and protest groups in the Wake County area. For example, the “Children’s Political Action Committee” is one of the many groups created by local residents to fight for their children’s rights to attend a school in their area.
To find out if your child is facing potential reassignment mandates, check with your local school’s website or school board meeting notes. All school board discussions are typically required to be published for public viewing; therefore, you can use your abilities as an active parent to delve into your child’s school’s circumstances and potential changes. Ultimately, if your child is forced to be reassigned against your wishes, speak with your child’s administrator or school board leader to find out if you can pursue a personal appeal.