Education

Wake schools looking at door-busting elementary population

Posted May 25, 2010
Updated May 26, 2010

Wake County is planning for three possible new schools on Durant Road, Scotts Ridge Trail in Apex and Capital Boulevard in Wake Forest.
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— Wake County schools face a crunch in elementary school space for the 2013-14, and the district staff wants permission to begin preliminary planning this year on three possible new schools on land the district already owns on Durant Road, Scotts Ridge Trail in Apex and Capital Boulevard in Wake Forest.

Given the projections, the school board's Facilities Committee voted 2-1Tuesday to recommend that the full board go along with a proposal to spend about $500,000 each for preliminary planning for the three sites.

The money should be available from savings in current bids being let under the district's Capital Improvement Plan,  Assistant Superintendent Joe Desormeaux told the committee.

An uncertain economic recovery and the district's as-yet undetermined new community-based assignment system make projections even more inexact than usual, facilities chief Don Haydon said.

Nonetheless, he said, projections of elementary students for the 2013-14 school year show that six of 10 planning areas in the county will be over 100 percent for the available seats.

Broadly, the overcrowding is projected for the central area of the county and to the north and west, projections show.

The school system already owns sites on the former northern Wake landfill off Durant Road, on the east side of Capital Boulevard and on Scotts Ridge Trail. Schools will be built there eventually, Haydon said, and preliminary planning has to happen some time.

Because construction bids are now lower than once expected because of the recession, "We're not taking dollars from anything else," Desormeaux said.

Reallocating money to planning would require school board and county commissioner approval, so planning probably could not start before November, Desormeaux and Haydon said.

Facilities planners in the school system break the county into 10 zones. Haydon noted that the planning zones are not related to whatever lines the student assignment process will draw. The board voted earlier this month to make the top priority trying to assign students to schools near their homes.

Board member John Tedesco's Student Assignment Committee is expected to take over a year to develop that plan.

The facilities zones and their projected use of all available elementary school seats for the 2013-14 year are:

  • Central – 118.8 percent
  • Far East – 60.9 percent
  • Near East – 90.8 percent
  • North – 108 percent
  • North Raleigh – 113.4 percent
  • North-West – 116.1 percent
  • South-East – 80.5 percent
  • South-West – 90.3 percent
  • West-North – 109.8 percent
  • West-South – 105.2 percent

If the schools aim for using 95 percent of the seats at each school to allow flexibility for new students during the year and other factors, overcrowding rises in the six zones and averages 106 percent countywide, the staff's projections show.

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  • Bendal1 May 26, 2010

    Where's the money going to come from to build 3 or more new schools? If those #'s are to be believed, looks like some busing will be needed. Oh No!!

  • chevybelair57sd May 26, 2010

    The Wake Schools have consistantly over estimated future student counts, no one can accurately project this. They'd rather build new schools than take care of existing ones and over project for instant money. They have a track record of over paying for land and services yet pay lower wages and get low results no mater what they spend. I'm not bad mouthing the teachers here, we expect them to instill values in the kids that PARENTS should do and that is near impossible to do.

  • shortcake53 May 25, 2010

    I cant help but wonder, with all the empty office buildings, empty stores, and almost totally vacant strip malls, why are these spaces not being used as schools? Revamping them to make them usable has got to be cheaper than buying land and building a whole new structure.

  • mgratk May 25, 2010

    The only comment I can make on this article is that I really can't trust it given WRAL's repeatedly blatant bias against the current majority on the school board. Might there be a political agenda here too? I can't say, and can't trust WRAL.

  • Not_So_Dumb May 25, 2010

    "if wake county is cutting jobs then why are they build new schools this make no sence."

    Because kids still go to school whether or not their parents have jobs. As I stated originally, forecasting school populations isn't easy. There isn't one driver in the change. Obviously the previous estimates have been woefully inadequate, and in my opinion, likely manipulated for political gain, but you still cannot make a statement like "jobs are down, so school enrollment should be as well."

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 25, 2010

    I was going to "comment on/correct" one or two posts. But those one or two posts became 5 and then 20. So much wrong information on these posts, its pitiful. I'm beginning to wonder who we should work on getting in school... the students or the parents.

  • Not_So_Dumb May 25, 2010

    "Nobody likes paying taxes, but if we need new schools for incoming students we need to plan ahead and build them in the most cost effective way possible. This is what a responsible society does." - wildervb

    This is right, but only partially. It isn't just about the most cost effective way to build, it is the most cost effective way to build and operate over the expected life cycle. It is like buying a cheap car that is a gas hog or breaks down a lot. The initial savings are soon lost.

  • warrendustin09 May 25, 2010

    if wake county is cutting jobs then why are they build new schools this make no sence.

  • Not_So_Dumb May 25, 2010

    I will quickly say this for everyone that has bashed the idea of MYR because the schools are not filled to 100% capacity yet: Aren't you proving the point of why the MYR was working? - mindofreason

    No. You are making an assumption that the reason they aren't full is a result of the extra capacity from conversion. This is not true. Part of the reason they aren't full is because it is much more difficult to fill a year-round school. The chances of having under filled sections and tracks is quite high.

  • Not_So_Dumb May 25, 2010

    "Now there's some creative new math! Based on 10-year-old figures from Pahrump, NV, we have conclusive proof that year-round in Wake costs too much. Laughable conclusion." - i4musicalarts

    Actually, as I stated before, there is a mountain of evidence from other districts that tried to use year round to save money and gave up because it didn't work. Look it up yourself.

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