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Group Sues Wake to Block Year-Round School Conversions

Posted March 13, 2007
Updated March 14, 2007

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— A parents group on Tuesday filed a class-action lawsuit against the Wake County Board of Education seeking an injunction to stop the conversion of 19 elementary and three middle schools to a mandatory year-round schedule.

Leaders with the group, WakeCARES, want a judge to hear the complaint within the next 10 days, because the plan is expected to take effect when the 2007-2008 school year begins.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, leaders said they felt they had no choice but to sue the board, saying it did not listen to their concerns about the conversion plan. WakeCARES announced their decision with the support of three wake county mayors and dozens of concerned parents.

“This is about choice, and parents deserve to have choice in their children's education—and this is at the very heart of that,” Apex Mayor keith Weatherly said.

For months, groups have argued, for example, that such a schedule would complicate lives of families who have children on different school calendars and potentially split families.

“At this point, I think a lot of parents are just tired of beating their heads against the wall and this is our court of last option, literally,” parent Kevin Nesbitt said.

School system leaders have said that unless they convert the 22 schools, they will be at least 4,000 seats short for the start of the school year.

Year-round schools are necessary, they argue, to help the system manage its booming student population, because they accommodate about 25 percent more students. While three-quarters of students are in class, one quarter is always on break.

Tuesday's lawsuit is the latest move in the battle over mandatory year-round schools.

In January, days before the school board was to approve a massive reassignment plan -- which is based on the 22 school conversions, the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to withhold $3.4 million in funding to transition the schools.

The school system, however, moved forward with the reassignment plan, reallocated funding from its budget.

In the last three years, enrollment in the Wake County schools has grown by more than 16,000 students. This year, about 6,400 new students enrolled.

By 2020, the county is expected to grow to 1.1 million people, meaning there would be an estimated 180,000 children in Wake County schools.


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  • mulvay8888 Mar 21, 2007

    Just curios, NO ONE seems to answer the question. WHY ARE STUDENTS BEING DENIED SPOTS AT A YEAR ROUND SCHOOL IF THEY ARE REQUESTING TO GO TO YEAR ROUND SCHOOL? If a parent chooses to enroll their child in YR, why are they being denied the available spot.

  • Pandoras Box Mar 20, 2007

    Thank GOD!! I was waiting for the filing. BEST $200 I have ever donated. Now, I just hope for my families sake, it works. Maybe they should listen to the parents instead of bullying them around. It should be a choice. NOT forced upon us. And for those idiots that say we have a choice have you honestly looked at those??? They are impossible to get in. We applied to the magnet schools and were denied - but where was our CHOICE????????? If I can't get into a traditional school how can I choose which I want my daughter to go to?? WE are going to burn our children out. BUT who cares!!! We made room for the illegals flooding our school.

  • millahd33 Mar 19, 2007

    HERE WE GO AGAIN...when are they gonna stop running our life?I gave birth to my 6 children not the,BOE.I should be able to choose what school i want my children to attend,traditional or year round the choice should be mines to make.I don't think they even take into consideration what the parents have to say,it's all about power to the BOE,they do this because they know some parents can't afford to send their children to a private school,the BOE needs to worry about their own children and leave ours alone,next they will try to tell us parents how we should take care of our children...just because,they think they can.

  • kittiboo Mar 18, 2007

    I guess you can't use certain symbols. Anyway, 5000 is less than 8000. Seems like some missing seats to me.

  • kittiboo Mar 18, 2007

    continuing from previous post: 5000

  • kittiboo Mar 18, 2007

    QUOTE from "math" tutor:
    Fact: Wake County has more than enough seats to accomodate 8000 new students next year. Of the 8000 expected new students, approximately 5000 are elementary and middle. There are 5 new elementary schools opening next year, approximately 2500 seats. In addition, WCPSS identified another 2500 seats (approximate) in traditional schools that were available for transfer. This should cover the growth for next year.
    Um, last I checked, "math" tutor, 2500+2500=5000. 5000

  • MohawkinNC Mar 18, 2007

    Mathtutor, I taught in a year-round school for a few years, until my husband was transferred to another state. What concerns me is that all this talk boils down to money...I have yet to hear anyone address the quality of education their child would receive if this system is implemented. Personally, I wish all schools would convert to it. Whether it is more economical, convenient, whatever; children seem to learn better because there is more consistency. Other countries with better academic systems than ours are more focused on their children's education...not their family vacation. Their school days are longer, and Saturday school is a requirement for all, not a punishment. If we don't wake up soon, Wake county residents, you will have more than just your vacations and taxes to worry about.

  • Isabella Mar 14, 2007

    If the lawsuit is about equality, what would happen if the BoE up and decided to make every middle and elementary school on a year round schedule and every high school a modified year round schedule? This would appear to address the "concern" of WakeCares about the equality of their children's education while the BoE "solves" the financial and growth aspects of the WCPSS.

    I did look through the WakeCares website and while I partially understand their equality reasoning, I do not fully understand why all of the sudden this has become an issue. Some students were forced into year round due to their base school in previous years without this much yelling from parents. (and vice versa really)
    Just curious.

  • MathTutor Mar 14, 2007

    me-in-raeford: They moved funds from their operating budget to their capital budget. They claimed that the purchase of carts for year round teachers was an operating expense (previous purchases were correctly classified as a capital expense). In doing so, many believe they acted illegally, and I was under the impression that the lawsuit would address that, but I don't know for sure.

  • MathTutor Mar 14, 2007

    OK, I want to know from all the WakeCares opponents just exactly why you support the school system.

    1. Do you think YR is more economical? Then you would be wrong. In hundreds of school districts across the nation, the decision to go year round resulted in much higher maintenance cost, and siginificantly reduced the life of a school building. These districts reverted back to traditional schools to save costs.

    2. Do you think that the 8000 students next year is a crisis situation. Then you would be wrong. Of the 8000 seats, 5000 are for elementary and middle. 2500 new seats are available in five new schools that are opening, and another WCPSS itself identified an additional 2500 available seats for transfers.

    3. Do you think it will relieve overcrowding? Then you would be wrong. According to WCPSS own data, the average enrollment gain in the 22 schools being converted to year round is 5-10%, about the size of one additional elementary school.

    So why do you support WCPSS?