Local News

Year-Round School Foes Challenge Numbers, Threaten Suit

Posted February 15, 2007

— The Wake County school board may be facing a lawsuit over its plan for mandatory year-round schools.

The threat comes from a group of mayors and other opponents of the plan who say the data on enrollment shows mandatory year-round schools are unneeded.

“We don't have a shortage of seats. We have a delta of seats,” Dave Duncan of the group Stop Mandatory Year-Round Schools told a news conference Thursday. “Delta” refers to a difference showing more current capacity than the expected number of students.

The Wake County Public School System board has said that expected growth requires converting 19 elementary schools and three middle schools to year-round this fall. The Wake County Commissioners have voted to withhold money for the conversion, after which the school board voted to take money from its reserve fund.

“Right now we have teachers teaching in closets, media centers being used as classrooms, students starting lunch at 10:30. The crisis is very real,” schools spokesman Michael Evans said.

The mayors of Garner and Apex say they're fed up with the school board.

“They’re picking on Garner because it's easy to do,” Mayor Ronnie Williams said.

“We see that that's not representative government, frankly,” Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly said. “Apex is left without any capacity for choice.” He said the town feels it has planned responsibly for growth.

“Nobody wanted mandatory year-round. The growth has been forced upon us,” Evans said.

The group has hired attorneys and said it plans to file legal action soon, believing there is still time to stop mandatory year-round schools.

“We're left with this choice of litigation, unfortunately,” Weatherly said.

The school system said it could not comment on a threat of litigation except to say it is prepared to fight a lawsuit if one is filed.

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  • alanvankirk Feb 16, 2007

    Alot of self centered people here. It saves money so I'm all for it. There are many people who it will not work for. How about if your divorce decree says the child spends summers with a spouse. You have to get it rewritten "If the spouse approves" If not what then.... How about familys with the relatives several states away. If your children are split between standard and traditional you have no options except pull your children out of school for a week. Look at the 200 or 300 dollars some families will have to pay for track out. 3-4 times a year. Think about others not just your self... Now we all have options that will work. Soon 22 schools full of familys will have none... They have shown there are enought seats for the kids. With only minor reassignments from this year it appears we can accomidate the kids with little disruption, while a fair and equitable solution is worked out

  • Rocknhorse Feb 16, 2007

    This will affect so many families in so many different ways. Not just in terms of vacation, but in lifestyles. What can be said to the single parent who relies on older siblings to help with younger? If that older sibling is in school, who's going to watch the younger child that is tracked out? Single parents struggle with expenses. What if they cannot afford child care? They can't quit working, they have bills to pay. Child care is expensive. If all the kids are on the same schedule, then this concern is addressed. This is just one scenario.

  • Rocknhorse Feb 16, 2007

    Free Choice!
    I see nothing to be gained by mixing it up between the grades.

  • amandakholland07 Feb 16, 2007

    more on the children themselves and not on how it affects the adults so much. I do want to say that I was also bussed to schools for most of my education, and I don't see anything wrong with that either. The closest school i ever went to was at least 10 minutes away. I agree that the growth needs to subside some, Wake county is bursting at the seams, but we can't penalize the children and teachers by putting them in inadequate spaces to learn in.

  • amandakholland07 Feb 16, 2007

    As a future educator, and alum of WCPSS, I can say that I believe that year round schools are the way to go. In the 13 years I was in the system, I was in a traditional calendar school, a modified year round school, and a 4 track year round school, so essentially, I have experienced it all. Having done that, I can say that 4 track year round was my favorite. Even if you do loose some summer, you gain it back during the year, and can go on vacations that you might not necessairly be able to afford if you went at the peak times. My family had the opportunity to go to Disney in February because of the track I was on, and it was amazing. I think that all of the parents that are so concerned about their child's education need to start focusing on how and what their children are being taught, and not when it happens. Maybe we should start focusing on teacher pay, and if some of the teachers in the classroom are even qualified to be teaching. Maybe we should focus a little

  • Rocknhorse Feb 16, 2007

    I've said before I am not necessarily opposed to year round. I think it's actually quite a good idea. Perhaps the better statement for me is to say "All or none!" Make all schools year round or none (mandatory), or leave it a personal choice. But no one will ever convince me how it's in my kids' best interest to be on different schedules. Nor do I feel I'm selfish in thinking this way! I like the concept of year round, but I do not want one child in that and one in traditional.

  • Rocknhorse Feb 16, 2007

    pdking-perhaps year round does not appeal to all b/c it splits the family up (as in my case). I will have one child in year round and the other in traditional. Yes, I value my family time and summer plans! Yes, we do things as a family that will be affected by living with two different school schedules. I admit, I am fortunate to be home with my kids (through my own choice of sacrifices, no big homes and fancy cars). However, many families rely on older siblings to help with child care of younger siblings. If they are in school when the younger kids are home, this will not work! Or maybe it IS b/c their summers are changed. Perhaps the parents work at a job where there is a mandatory vacation schedule and they will no long have that 'quality family time' that is very important! Regardless, it is an important issue for parents and our voices deserve to be heard.

  • inmyopinion3 Feb 16, 2007

    I cant believe the moaning going in here!!!! Year round schools are the correct options for several reasons: It utilizes teh school more, it gives children a balanced year instead of huge vacations during certain parts of the year! I fully agree the people opposed to year round are typically those who are putting themselves first rather than whats in their childrens best interest and education! Tough luck if you have to change your vacation plans, my heart bleads for you, NOT!

  • Oh Smeg Feb 16, 2007

    Maybe I didn't read the article close enough, but I don't understand WHY the litigious parents don’t want year-round schools. Is it because their children’s education will interfere with their vacation plans in the summer? Boo. Hoo.

  • poohperson2000 Feb 16, 2007

    People should not be criticized for choosing to have children, because Wake County Public Schools has a lack of seats. Everyone has the right to have kids, and the kids have a right to an education. It is also not fair to insinuate that every one that has issues with schools going year round drive fancy cars and live in big houses. This issue has divided our community and everyone is quick to point the finger about whose fault it is. People who have just moved to the area, people with money, and sometimes anyone with children are being blamed. It is time to stop the finger pointing and focus on how to get enough classrooms, while delevering a top notch education for our children, which is something everyone should care about.