Cary parents concerned with proposed student reassignments
Posted September 26, 2016
Cary, N.C. — Fast-growing Wake County Public Schools released a draft of the new student assignment plan for the next school year.
Beginning next year, hundreds of students will be funneled into three schools, but some Cary families are not happy with how their community will be split up.
"The reason I chose to move into this house is because of Mills Park (elementary school)," said Brad Hall.
Hall, a single dad, said he was thrilled when Mills Park finally had the space for his 6 and 7 year old sons. But Hall and other Cary parents were dealt a blow this month when they learned Wake County Schools could move many students to Horton's Creek Elementary.
According to the first draft of the district's latest enrollment plan, Horton's Creek will help to ease overcrowding from Cary's Alston Ridge and Mills Park Elementary schools.
"Both of them are super crowded schools," said Laura Evans, senior director for student assignment. "Alston Ridge is currently the highest enrollment of any elementary school ever in Wake County with 1,300 students."
Evans said Mills Park is now capped at more than 1,000 students, and 150 additional students are on a waiting list.
"The density of the housing, it is impossible to assign families to their closest school," Evans said.
Julea Danielson, who has a student at Mills Park, said the new plan does not seem to take into account how the Town of Cary is laid out.
"They call us a planned devotement and so this whole place is purposefully designed. They have open areas to have schools in the proximity of where it is."
The school district said while the schools are in the Town of Cary, the designation maps are based on county subdivision data. Evans said the map was created using a North Carolina State University computer model that measures proximity, building utilization and minimizes the number of families impacted.
"We don't like to split neighborhoods but sometimes we have to," Evans said.
The school district is aware that parents are worried, but Evans emphasized that the draft is just a first version.
"The saddest part about my job is that everyone loves the school they are assigned to," Evans said.
There is a meeting Monday night at Oakview Elementary School in Holly Springs.
A second draft of the plans will be presented to the board on Oct. 4.