Local News

Wake County Schools Set Course For Future Growth

Posted June 15, 2004

— The Wake County School System is looking ahead to the year 2020. A long-range plan for growth, called Vision 2020, will be presented at Tuesday's school board meeting.

The school system grows by about 4,000 new students each year. Nearly 8,000 students are being reassigned to new schools this fall to make room for that growth.

"What we hope to do is to be able to schedule the completion of construction and the openings of schools so there is a less frequent reassignment," said Don Hayden, Wake County Schools assistant superintendent.

An estimated 60 new schools will need to be built in the next 15½ years.

The school system has land for five of the 13 schools planned to open by 2008 and is negotiating sites for four others. It expects the long-range plan will strengthen that effort.

Board member Carol Parker says the plan could also strengthen the school system's relationship with the community -- especially when it comes to the student reassignment shuffle.

"I really feel like this is being very responsive to the community," she said. "In going through student assignment for the first time, parents really want to know what the plan is down the road. Once they understand what's going to be needed in the way of schools in the area, I think it eases their tensions and their concerns."

One of the biggest challenges is finding available land. The school system is competing with every other developer in the area, so school system planners need to get creative. In the future, that could mean more new school sites doubling as community parks.

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