RALEIGH -- A move to a neighborhood-based school system has the potential to reshape Raleigh in coming years.
Scenarios of how a shift to neighborhood schools might affect Raleigh include rising house prices in neighborhoods surrounding highly ranked schools. The city government may decide to offer incentives to developers to help neighborhoods retain economic diversity. How much Raleigh could change, and at what speed, are questions that won't be answered quickly -- the new school board won't meet for the first time until Dec. 1.
"I have had people ask me, should I sell?" said Anne Sherron, a Raleigh real-estate agent. "Nobody should be making a quick decision just because of a school board vote."
Most of the 380,000 people who live in Raleigh didn't have a say in the Oct. 6 election that gave a new focus to the county school system. The nine-person school board will have four new members selected by voters living in suburban communities that surround the city. Many of those voters went to the polls dissatisfied with the current board's controversial but nationally recognized policy of shifting students to different schools based on families' income levels.
Opponents of the policy won outright in three districts. A planned November runoff between John Tedesco and Cathy Truitt, both opponents of the present system, will be held, with Tedesco the likely victor after Truitt conceded Monday. The four new members and current board member Ron Margiotta now form a majority that opposes several current policies, including mandatory year-round schools and forced busing for socioeconomic diversity.
Neighborhoods in Raleigh near high-ranking schools could eventually see rising housing prices, while neighborhoods near public schools with poor ratings may see the opposite.
"Those that have a reputation for being desirable tend to drive up some of the land prices over time," said Mitchell Silver, Raleigh's planning director. "Those neighborhoods become exclusive."
That happened in parts of Charlotte, where courts stopped school reassignments based on race in the late 1990s, then moved to a neighborhood-based system, said John Chesser, a researcher with UNC-Charlotte's Urban Institute.
"There is a large correlation between the perception of schools and where there's real-estate growth and value," he said. In the inner-city areas, "we have schools that have much higher levels of poverty."
But what will happen in Raleigh is far from certain, with many other factors at stake, Chesser cautioned.
Read more at NewsObserver.com