Local News

Enrollment Numbers Could Mean Year-Round Wake County Schools

Posted August 25, 2005

— More than 114,000 students showed up for the first day of classes in Wake County schools, according to numbers released by Wake County Public School System officials Thursday -- about 6,000 more than the first day of school in 2004.

Earlier this year, the Wake County school board backed away from a proposal to switch some schools to a year-round schedule in 2006. If enrollment numbers end up being too high, that idea could be back on the table. The county is trying to keep up with a few temporary solutions.

Daniels Middle School knows space is limited. Six mobile classrooms still are not finished, leaving nine teachers to roam the halls and borrow classroom space. A major renovation project does not help.

"It's true we've gotten off to an adventurous start," said Maureen Ramey, a seventh-grade teacher at Daniels.

High enrollment throughout the county is a problem. Approximately 118,000 to 119,000 students are projected, but School Board Chairman Patti Head said the numbers could exceed 120,000.

The numbers for the first day are a good indication, but numbers on the 20th day of school become the official enrollment numbers.

"We're still just holding tight," Head said. "I think the board as a whole would like to do a comprehensive plan."

Head says the school system needs to stretch its resources until the public votes to build more schools.

There are 184 more mobile classrooms and three modular schools designed to help the school system get by.

"I don't know what the number is that would take us over the top," Head said.

A school bond proposal is expected to go before voters between May and October 2006. While no one is committing to a dollar figure, one county official has said it will be around $600 million.

Projects that were not completed with money from the last bond proposal will be carried over.

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