RALEIGH, N.C. — The Wake County School Board made a decision that will impact thousands of students. In a 5-4 vote Tuesday, the board approved a plan to make mobile classrooms and modular schools the temporary fix for overcrowding.
The nation's 24th largest school district is facing a future of Band-Aid solutions.
The vote to add 168 mobile classrooms and approve three new modular schools is a decision none of the board members wanted a make.
"I'm very, very torn about supporting this, because this crisis is one not completely of our making," board member Beverley Clark said.
With the board already seven weeks behind schedule and faced with the reality of not having enough space next year for nearly 6,000 students, building more of structures became an unavoidable solution.
"Children are here and children are still coming. Teachers and parents are counting on us to make a decision," Wake County School superintendent Bill McNeal said.
The cost for mobile classrooms is not cheap; however, at $34 million, it is a less expensive. Another solution would have been year-round schools, but that was taken off the table in light of heavy public opposition.
Many parents are not happy about the prospect of mobile classrooms.
"You're making them into second class citizens," parent Patricia Clark said. "How are they, on an off-site campus, going to know what high school is about?"
For now, mobile education seems more permanent than the structures themselves. With 5,000 new students coming to Wake County every year, these could be the classrooms of the future.
The elementary locations could be set up at either Wildwood and Lynn Road elementaries or East Millbrook Middle. The third could become a ninth-grade center at Wakefield High.
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