Wake County Schools

Slowed growth has Wendell school slated for calendar change

Posted April 8, 2011
Updated April 9, 2011

— Lake Myra Elementary School in Wendell was opened as a year-round school, accommodating "tracks" of students who alternate nine weeks in class with three-week breaks. The year-round calendar maximizes space at crowded schools across Wake County.

But when the recent recession put a dent in development plans for Wendell, the student body didn't grow the way the Wake County Public School System officials anticipated.

Lake Myra has enough space to accommodate more than 760 students, but Principal Jim Argent said enrollment for the 2011-12 school year will likely be around 570.

Lake Myra was built to accommodate an projected population boom from Wendell Falls, a subdivision that was expected to triple the size of the eastern Wake County town. The property went into foreclosure, however, and no homes were ever built.

"When none of those houses were built, we lost the major portion of our base," Argent said Friday.

Empty classroom Under-enrolled year-round schools could switch calendars

Those facts have Lake Myra facing a calendar change at the suggestion of Superintendent Tony Tata. He would like to see 14 year-round schools currently operating at less than capacity convert to a single-track calendar, a move he said would save the district $50,000 per school.

Tata suggested Tuesday that the district convert Alston Ridge, Ballentine, Banks Road, East Garner, Harris Creek, Highcroft, Lake Myra, Rand Road, River Bend, Timber Drive, Wakefield and West Lake elementary schools and East Cary and Holly Grove middle schools to a single calendar.

He said he recognizes the change would be disruptive for families who have adjusted their family schedule to the schedules of the various tracks.

"I know it's a controversial issue, and I know that it is a difficult issue because we are talking about using facilities at capacity and we are also talking about impacting families," Tata said.

Argent agreed, saying, "We would have to be very cognizant and very respectful of families and their situations."

Tata notes, however, that the idea is worth investigating, given the school district's tight budget. The district is planning for a 5 percent cut in state funding for the coming year and no additional money from the county, even though overall enrollment is expected to increase.

"I want to have all of the information available to maybe absorb more than the 5 percent cut and still preserve the priorities of the budget, protecting teachers and classrooms," he said.

The school board is expected to consider the issue next month. If approved, principals of the affected schools would have to decide how best to adjust their schedules.


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  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Apr 8, 2011

    Oh please. The children helping on the poor ole farm excuse is tired. Year round is great if you want it. If it was mandated upon you and your neighbors, and you and they didn't and still don't want it, sorry. That's wrong. Sorry. That's the reality of it. A previous school board decided upon themselves that without facts or merit they would sacrifice some families for the good of all. Sorry again. That doesn't wash.

    Unless you live in Cuba.

  • injameswetrust2003 Apr 8, 2011

    "West Lake elem. has always been year round since it opened. I can't believe they would now change it to traditional schedule."

    Huh? Are you reading the same article?

  • cooperstown Apr 8, 2011

    Traditional school calendars are based on an antiquated system--so that children would be free from school and able to help on the farm during the harvest season. Year round is amazing; my students come back refreshed and suffer less burnout. As a teacher, if it were up to me, we'd have school more than just 180 days a year anyway. It might make up for the literacy issues I've seen as well as the United States' falling behind other countries in education. I think it's silly to sacrifice more learning time just so there can be family vacations in the summer. There are track-outs in the summer time too for families who would like to go on vacation.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Apr 8, 2011

    I absolutely hope the principals have no say in this matter whatsoever. This isn't about them.

    If your school and trailers are packed then your school shouldn't be on this list.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Apr 8, 2011

    This shouldn't have to happen because these schools never should have been mandated onto their current calendars. But since we can thank that last school board, the one with the real parent haters, yes, this should happen and it should happen immediately. If you don't have the spine to change these schools back to traditional calendar schools Mr. Tata, without letting anyone except the board and yourself make that decision, then they should all be changed to a track four model as soon as possible. Not 2 or 3 years from now.

  • kittiboo Apr 8, 2011

    This is so ridiculous. You know how many of the possibly affected principals and staff members found out? When it was announced on the NEWS. Waiting until next month to make this decision is also ridiculous. The school where I teach is on the list. If we go to all one track, the $50,000 will have to be used to hire additional staff, and our school and trailers will be PACKED, because we are very close to being at our capacity for all tracks being in at the same time. Our area IS still growing, and it is just silly to switch everyone to track 4 then have to switch them back in a year or two when the number DO go up. I absolutely hope the prinicpals have input in the decision.

  • cooperstown Apr 8, 2011

    These schools will not change from year round; all the students will just be on one or two tracks, rather than four.

  • yourwish Apr 8, 2011

    West Lake elem. has always been year round since it opened. I can't believe they would now change it to traditional schedule.