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Future of Year-Round Legal Fight Remains Unclear

Posted April 24, 2007

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— Twenty-two schools in Wake County remain in limbo as the legal fight to stop a year-round calendar continues.

A judge isn't expected to rule on the future of the plan to convert the schools to year-round schedules until next week. Meanwhile, however, the complicated case has arguments that may stretch beyond when the school year starts.

"I do think the strength of the case is with the (Wake) Board of Education," said Brian Shaw, an attorney who specializes in education law.

Legally, Shaw said, school boards get to set school calendars.

"The courts recognize that the school boards have a real difficult job and they can't keep every parent happy,” he said.

Parents have taken the school board to court before over reassignment plans and lost. However, the group behind the year-round lawsuit said they hope the judge will consider that their argument isn't simply about the calendar.

“It's not so much about wanting neighborhood schools or wanting summer,” said parent Kathleen Brennan. “We feel our right to an equal opportunity is being violated.”

Shaw said the case is unique because year-round schools aren't widespread, which makes a ruling even harder to predict.

“I've not seen anything like it,” Shaw said. “I don't know what Judge [Howard E.] Manning's going to do and I wouldn't try to predict it.”

If Judge Manning doesn't dismiss the case, he could let it go to trial with or without an order to stop the year-round conversions immediately.

Until the ruling, school board members said they’ll forward, but with the sense that they're in a holding pattern.

“The other side made good arguments,” said chair Patti Head. “We have to trust that the judge will be fair and impartial.”

Parents had the option to transfer out of the year-round schools. WRAL was told 100 percent of those who applied were transferred.

60 Comments

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  • superman Apr 26, 2007

    One more important thing, the billion dollars only builds the school and pays for the land. School bonds can only pay for construction cost and land. This give you an empty school. Furniture, equipment etc have to be provided to-- The school cafeteria might cost 500,000 for the stainless steel counters etc. Then the cost of the student furniture, equipment, etc. Furnishing a single school be a couple million dollars-- in addition to the construction bond money. The electric bill is not even worth mentioning in the scope of costs.

  • superman Apr 26, 2007

    Spending a billion dollars to build new schools so you dont have an electic bill for two months is an awsome idea-- thats real SMART thinking. You should send the school board an e-mail and pass that idea along to them. By the way-- what planet you living on? One that money falls off trees?

  • superman Apr 26, 2007

    Hey check out the cost of building new schools and buying land-- the electric bill is nothing compared to the cost of building schools and finding suitable land. It wont be long before wake county will have to be building schools in out counties. You have any idea how much 4 to 6 acres of land sells for in your neighborhood? Think about if you had rental property and it is only rented 10 months out of the year--leaving buildings unoccupied for 2 months and turning around and spending millions to build more just so kids dont go in summer is stupid. and building more schools will be just more busing cause available land close to where u live probably doesnt exist anymore. I rather pay a big electric bill than spend 10 million dollars to build a school when we have empty ones for two months every year. They spending a billion dollars to build new schools-- the electric bill is small in comparison. Give us all a choice-- I dont have kids-- I would prefer not to pay for the schools.

  • poohperson2000 Apr 26, 2007

    Wake County will have the luxury of switching back too if they can find away to keep up with the growth or slow the growth. Controlling the growth or finding a way to make the growth pay for itself would have kept us out of our current situation.

  • Spongebob Apr 26, 2007

    Several states that went to the YR schedule went back two years later.

  • poohperson2000 Apr 26, 2007

    There is no sucessful model for year round high schools, and we know other states have year round. They have somehow gotten over this hurtle.

  • Spongebob Apr 26, 2007

    Hey Hondman....did you watch the debate?

  • Pandoras Box Apr 25, 2007

    hondaman - can't happen. High School will never be year round so there will always be a fight. Part of the reasons schools are closed in the summer is cost. Check your electric bill in the summer - isn't it higher??? Gas cost is more in the summer too. I'm sure I could point out a few others, but you get my point.

  • superman Apr 25, 2007

    I hope the judge will rule that you cant have both-- Then the BOE will determine everything will be YR. That will teach those parents that sometimes if it ain't broken-- dont fix it. Buger King will give extra onions if you ask!

  • superman Apr 25, 2007

    It makes no sense to have a school facility that costs several million dollars and it be empty. And turn around and build more schools so parents arent inconveniced. An education is not cheap but it is a waste of taxpapers dollars to allow building to be empty and unused. The state passed the Community Schools bills years ago. It would allow classes by technical schools like Wake Tech to utilize school classrooms at night when the kids are gone. Some schools even have a public libary instead of a traditional school library. Killing two birds with one stone-- you get a public library and school library together at little or no extra cost. Judge Manning is a freak-- he wants to run the schools-- he will soon be visiting all the bus stops to see which are safe and which are unsafe. Some of these problems could have been avoided if the county commissioners had adequately funded the schools in past years and allowed new schools to be built.

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