Wake school board reconsiders Panther Creek freshman center
Posted February 21, 2012
Updated February 22, 2012
Panther Creek High parents were upset by the decision saying last week that they thought their ninth-graders would be put in mobile units at Alston Ridge Elementary School, which is about 2 miles up N.C. Highway 55 from the high school.
Board members cited feedback from parents and staff in their decision to rescind their previous vote and have a public hearing March 6 on the topic.
Bus schedule changes remain under review
During a work session earlier Tuesday, the board reviewed a proposal that would change bus schedules and reduce the number of routes.
The Wake County Public School System posted a survey on its website two weeks ago to gather public comments on the changes proposed for the 2012-13 school year. It received more than 9,400 comments.
The main issue parents had with the change were conflicts with their work schedule, securing before-school care for their children and how the change would affect extracurricular activities.
The majority of respondents were from families with elementary school children.
Administrators say the proposed changes would increase efficiency and accommodate growth while reducing the bus fleet by 112 buses, saving approximately $12 million over a two year period. The move also would restore school transportation efficiency to 99 percent, preserving $4 million in state revenue.
The district would cut back on the number of tiered bus routes, lengthen bus runs and increase the number of students on each run.
The changes would affect 30 percent of the county's schools. Fifteen percent of those schools would have a 41 to 50 minute change, while 3 percent would see a more than 50 minute change.
Broughton High School in Raleigh, for example, would start 40 minutes earlier; Holly Springs Elementary School would dismiss students nearly an hour later, around 4 p.m.
Next year, the school board estimates that 2,000 more students will be riding buses.
During Tuesday's work session, the board discussed a proposal to draw back 10 minutes from some of the bell times. They also planned to look at five schools with the most dramatic bell change and determine if they can leave them at their normal times.
Any changes to next year's bell schedule must be in place by the end of March.
Under the new assignment plan, parents can choose from at least five elementary, two middle and two high schools, based on their address. The schools are a combination of traditional-calendar, year-round calendar, magnet and other specialty options.
The plan was created after the board decided to stop using busing to balance socio-economic diversity across schools and place more emphasis on allowing students to attend schools closer to their homes.
During the work session, a handout stated the bus schedule plan was not a product of the new assignment plan, arguing that the busing change would help accommodate changes to any assignment plan because it allows added time between tiers giving more flexibility between routes.
Parents have until Friday to rank their school choices under the new assignment plan before school staff place students. They will notify parents by March 16.
If the school board approves the schedule changes, Superintendent Tony Tata said parents would be allowed to switch their school choices so the hours of their selected schools meet their needs.