Pinellas moves ahead with assignment plan

11/13/07 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Today the Pinellas County School Board presented a first reading of the school assignment plan for the 2008-2009 school year at a meeting in Largo.

Nineteen of the 22 members of the public who spoke at the meeting appealed to the board to delay their decision for six months. But those pleas fell on deaf ears as the board decided to move forward with the plan.

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said the plan to determine which schools students could attend was created with input from a citizens’ task force and public meetings.

ilcox said that the new school assignment plan would still give families choices.

Before the meeting, a coalition of groups concerned about narrowing the huge achievement gap between students of color and white students in Pinellas schools presented their Consensus Statement and Call for Unity.

The St. Petersburg NAACP, the Upper Pinellas County Clearwater NAACP, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and People Advocating Change Together (PACT) all urged the School Board to delay any decision on student assignment plans for six months in order to tie it to a student achievement plan.

Alma K Bridges, president of the Upper Pinellas Clearwater NAACP, said that the best way to close the achievement gap would be a delay in deciding on the school assignment plan.

Chimurenga Waller is past president of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. He said that the black community should have control over the resources required to educate students of African descent.

The District Monitoring Advisory Committee (DMAC) was created by federal courts to oversee, among other things, the educational achievement of black students in Pinellas County Schools.

Adrienne Helm, vice chair of DMAC, presented the board with a list of ways the new student assignment plan is not in compliance with legal requirements.

Kim Black, president of the Pinellas Classrom Teachers’ Association, pointed out one of the problems with the current system, known as school choice.

The only School Board member who wanted to delay going ahead with the school assignment plan was outgoing chair Mary L. Tyus Brown, the Board’s only African American.

The next step is a minimum 21-day advertisement period followed by a vote on the new school attendance plan during the School Board meeting on Dec. 11.

Learn more:

Pinellas County School Board

Consensus statement


Superintendent Clayton Wilcox

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