Local News

Group Plans Sick-Out To Protest Year-Round Plan

Posted September 13, 2006

— Opponents to mandatory year-round schools in Wake County have used their voice. Now, one group is planning a sick day for students called a "Track Out Solidarity Day." It would tentatively end with picketing at an Oct. 3 school board meeting.

"For one day, take your elementary kids out of school," said Dave Duncan with Stop Mandatory Year-Round. "We'll use it as a civic engagement, civic lesson for the kids."

Group Plans Sick-Out To Protest Wake Year-Round Plan

The Wake County School Board decided last week to switch 19 schools to a year-round schedule. Towns like Apex are facing year-round school conversions because of their growth. Duncan said the opposition is substantial.

"I could easily say hundreds, if not thousands, of people that are (opposed)," he said. "This has got their attention."

Some poll numbers show the opposition isn't overwhelming. When the school system asked for feedback to converting elementary schools, 545 people said they opposed year-round. Just over 400 said they supported it and 302 didn't have a position.

"I still have the definite impression that while there are those who oppose it and they oppose it vehemently, there are plenty of people who support it," said school board member Lori Millberg.

Board members have also noted that five year-round elementary schools opened this summer with no public backlash. Still, Dave Duncan maintains his stance on public opinion and the effect year-round schools will have on the community.

"I wouldn't trust any of those surveys that are being done by the Wake County School System," said Duncan. "When you took mandatory year-round to the community, you instigated a hostile act toward families."

As part of the ongoing fight, many parents said they would oppose the upcoming bond for school construction and repairs. Millberg said that would take money directly out of their children's schools.

Wake County officials have dropped one middle school from their year-round conversion list, but added another. The school board crossed East Garner Middle School off the list Tuesday morning, deciding to convert North Garner Middle School instead. A total of five middle schools could switch to year-round schedulings.

Parents can sound off about the plan at a public meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at Sanderson High School. A final vote could take place next Tuesday.

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