Local News

Opt-Outs Leave Some Year-Round Schools Scrambling

Posted July 8, 2007

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— Year-round schools in Wake County will open their doors Monday morning, but at least one school is scrambling to make last-minute changes after posting low enrollment numbers.

East Garner Elementary is one of the new year-round schools in Wake County, and it’s already experiencing a few problems. The school had one of the highest number of parents opt their kids out of the year-round system.

Principal James Overman said he has seen close to 140 students opt out of the school since a lawsuit filed by a group called WakeCares gave parents the choice to remove their kids from mandatory year-round assignments.

“This year has been a little more difficult just because, from day to day, your numbers are changing, and you’re not real sure as to what you have,” Overman said. “It does make it a little more difficult, because it makes it harder to predict how many teachers you’ll need for each grade level.”

Teachers are allocated based on the number of students at each school. One of East Garner’s third grade calendars, known as Track 3, was canceled, and nearly a dozen students were re-assigned to a different schedule at the last minute.

Parents like Lawrence Chavis are in the affected group. He sees the situation as a fallout from the WakeCares lawsuit, he said.

“The board of education was trying to deal with a situation as best as they possibly could because of overcrowding. Then, parents get in and start suing, and it puts everything up in the air,” Chavis said.

East Garner is not alone in dealing with opt-outs. It's estimated that nearly half of Wake County's year-round schools are dealing with the issue.


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  • nowayeddy Jul 9, 2007

    strange, last I heard, 90% of the questionaires that came back opted for the year round schools, what is the truth here, is the school board ever going to give us the truth, before they get voted out of office, that is.

  • ifonly Jul 9, 2007

    My child was assinged to a different track, but apparently there were not enough students, then she was placed on a different one; but we knew about it before school let out in June.

  • cartman Jul 9, 2007

    Is this a surprise to anyone? Given that fact that parents were protesting MYR, now it's not working and people are surprised? MYR is a big adjustment for many people, but WCPSS seemed to ignore that fact. Maybe this will wake up WCPSS and next time they actually seek parents input BEFORE they make a sweeping change.

    dr_nc, that was great!

  • Tony Rice Jul 9, 2007

    "It's estimated that nearly half of Wake County's year-round schools are dealing with the issue."

    Is that how WRAL is going to report on issues that are very important to the community? Get a tip, talk to one person close to the story and then cap the story off with a baseless estimate on how this issue affects the rest of the community.

    Garner isn't the only school canceling tracks this year. This story implies that students opting out of the year round calendar are the cause of enrollment problems at this year round school. But did you know that year round tracks were canceled last year in some voluntary year round schools? Schools everywhere, even those without year round programs, have to play a numbers game up to the start of school. Sometimes there are 8 Kindergarten classes, sometimes 2. There are lots of factors.

    I'd like to see more investigation on this story.

  • oceanchild71 Jul 9, 2007

    "If Wake County would put a freeze on (commercial and personal) housing permits until the WCPSS is able to catch up this problem would be solved." -uh, no, the problem would not be solved.

    The problem is with the process. All WCPSS knows how to do is react. They are never proactive. Like the article in today's paper said, they wait until the growth hits an area then they get in the arena with the developers and try to compete for available land. If Wal-Mart can figure out where the growth is going to be and can buy land and build its stores before land values skyrocket, why can't WCPSS?

  • mgteacher Jul 9, 2007

    If Wake County would put a freeze on (commercial and personal)
    housing permits until the WCPSS is able to catch up this problem would be solved.

  • mrduffin Jul 8, 2007

    It seems if dr-nc gets his way all will be good with the world. That's a easy fix it seems!

  • hkypky Jul 8, 2007

    Eli Stafford: The people you refer to are not as much in the minority as you think.

    And by the way, the WCPSS has turned the art of listening into a cop out. They don't listen. They just let parents vent, tell them thank you for playing, and don't call us - we'll just reassign you (again).

  • Navy Vet Jul 8, 2007

    Oh and Nancy is right too. .. everyone else.. theres free coffee in the lounge.

  • Navy Vet Jul 8, 2007

    Roger That Speedy and Taxman!! Well said. Its all fun and games until you start messing with someones kids.