Local News

Concerned Parents Speak Out On Year-Round Plan For Wake Middle Schools

Posted September 14, 2006

— The debate over year-round conversion took center stage Thursday night in North Raleigh. But this time Wake County middle schools were at the center of the discussion.

School board leaders plan to switch five middle schools to year-round schedules, saying the move is inevitable due to overcrowding and budget issues. Enrollment in Wake County schools jumped by more than 7,000 students this year, and school officials said they expect 5,000 more students next year.

Concerned Parents Speak Out On Year-Round Plan For Wake Middle Schools

But parents are far from sold on the idea. According to several who spoke at a public forum Thursday evening at Sanderson High School, the change would be too hard on their families.

"I have studied the calendar, and there is not a track that would give my family a non-peak vacation together," said parent Kim Wallace.

"My concern is that if we switch any schools to year-round, we could lose good teachers," said parent Kristen Magee.

The year-round conversion would mean a lifestyle change for students and their parents.

"If Salem Middle goes year-round, I'll be the only one in my whole family to be on a different schedule," said student Megan Pressley.

But not everyone was opposed to the plan.

"As an educator, I've seen a difference in students when they have a break every nine weeks," said teacher Trish Boone. "They retain more of the curriculum that was taught and little review is needed."

However, many parents weren't buying that argument. They came to the meeting bearing signs and stickers that protested the plan.

"The ($980 million bond issue) is definitely in trouble because of the year-round schools," said parent Cynthia Sinkez.

School leaders urged parents to keep an eye on the big picture.

"We're building 17 new schools, undergoing major renovations on 13," said Wake County school board chair Patti Head.

Concerned parents have organized a countywide public forum is set to be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Apex Municipal Building. The school board is expected to vote on the year-round plan at its regularly-scheduled meeting next Tuesday at noon.


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