Local News

Wake officials debate opening schools as year-round or not

Posted September 5, 2007
Updated April 29, 2008

— Wake County Schools will get an answer about year-round schools sooner rather than later.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals granted them an expedited hearing in the fight over converting to mandatory year-round. A Wake County judge ruled they can't do it.

Still, there's no guarantee on when the case will be heard. And some board members said they can't wait for another court ruling.

Year-round schools fit more kids because of the rotating schedules, so more year-round means fewer schools to build, officials said. By 2025, the school system says it needs 65 more elementary and middle schools. That's if they're year-round.

With the court fight in limbo, some school board members said they need to act now.

When a judge required year round schools to be voluntary, many year-round schools became under-enrolled and traditional schools became crowded.

“It’s going to be chaos if we continue on the same plan,” said Wake School Board Member Ron Margiotta.

If the schools don't fill up, Margiotta said he wants to scrap the plan that calls for opening all new middle and elementary schools as year-round. A renovated manufacturing plant is one of three elementary schools slated to go year-round next year.

So, how quickly does the school system need to work on this?

“Now, now,” Margiotta said. “Staff needs time to work on assignments.”

School Board Chair Rosa Gill said not so fast.

“We have to keep building new schools and opening them up as year-round with large capacities,” she said.

Gill said she wants the school board to stay the course while they appeal the judge’s decision. If they lose the appeal, Gill said it’s back to the drawing board. And that affects planning for the next school bond campaign, which is coming up sooner than later.

“I think I’d probably bet on the fact that more than likely there will be one next year,” said Consultant Ballard Everett.

Everett worked as a consultant on previous bond campaigns and said he believes the next one could be just as big as last year's $970 million request, which passed.

“They’ve gotta make sure the plans they put together they can sell to the people of Wake County, and that it will be something the people feel comfortable voting yes for,” Everett said.

The year-round plan might come up at Thursday’s school board work session. The board will talk about re-assignment, transportation issues and the recent audit report on how the school system carries out its curriculum.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • JennyT Sep 7, 2007

    “It’s going to be chaos if we continue on the same plan,” said Wake School Board Member Ron Margiotta.

    How about trying a new plan????

  • the alliance Sep 7, 2007

    No year round schools!

  • Tarheeljunior Sep 6, 2007

    yabo, Obviously you don't have any experience in educational funding or teaching theory. For starters, most clubs in schools are not funded by the school district. Teachers volunteer to advise groups in their field of interest and funding for events comes from club dues or fundraisers. At the school in Wake county I attended, the thousands of dollars needed for computers and printing costs came from donations and ad sales. Yes, sports coaches are a paid position. Sports are also a multi-billion dollar industry at the collegiate and pro level. Without high school participation, that will not be an idustrythat NC kids will ever be able to participate in. Extracurriculars are what help children develop interests and set life goals. What good are educated kids if they have no interests or direction when they graduate?

  • poohperson2000 Sep 6, 2007

    I will not vote for another bond until the CC shows they are dedicated to growth paying for itself (they must consider impact fees or developers donating land). I will also want the YR schools to become the standard, not the exception. I do not want to pay anymore in taxes for people that refuse change. Fact is YR increases the schools capacity, therefore there are less schools to build to catch up with the growth. YR schools are not hurting education, and wether you think it helps is a matter of opinion. We also solve the overcorwding in traditional schools, if they are all YR people will just attend their assigned school and put the balance back.

  • yabo2k3 Sep 6, 2007

    I am not sure how much this would save the County per year, but it is time to start 3 buckets: Required, Nice-to-Have, Not-at-all. The required bucket would have all the standard things: Buildings, Power, Teachers, Books, etc. Nice-to-haves would be technology, support staff, extra counselors, etc. Then the Not-at-all. These are the things the School Board should pull 100% funding from. These are not required and should have funding found outside the Gov't. This would include ALL extracurricular activities (basketball, football, baseball, track, etc), all clubs. Take the land these facilities are using and build additional classrooms. This would solve the land issue and some of the funding issues.

    People may complain about it, but with the budgets as tight as they are, cutting the fat is necessary. If it was your budget, would you budget for food for a year or a huge pizza party for 1 day and starve the other 364?

  • scal Sep 6, 2007

    "...It's a quagmire with poor planning/reactions on the BOE's part & lots of curveballs being thrown at them...."

    And it hasn't changed is the 20 years I have lived here. Not likely to either. No one goes out and votes out the dead wood who sometimes run uncontested. And like most parents who on average only live in their homes for an average of 3 to 5 years and either move out of a district or state all together, "...I'll either be gone or my kids will be onto college..."

    Nobody really cares. If they did they's do something about it.

  • lolly Sep 6, 2007

    well said oceanchild

  • oceanchild71 Sep 5, 2007

    Susanbeth74: The BOE fell behind in 1998 when a $600 million dollar bond failed & the growth rates have gotten even higher since then. There are many reasons why they have fallen behind: waiting until growth goes into an area & then buying land at much higher rates; exponential increase in the numbers of students with special needs coming into the school system (everything from severely autistic to ADD) & demanding & getting extra services; laws that make the system provide services to students who have been kicked out (ie social workers, legal aid, homebound instruction); changes in education philosophy that require massive re-training of teachers; expectations of technology use in classroom; companies that soak the educ. system dry because its the gov't; & many more reasons with illegal immigration being thrown in there but not to the extent that other reasons factor in. It's a quagmire with poor planning/reactions on the BOE's part & lots of curveballs being thrown at them.

  • 18monkeys Sep 5, 2007

    Why not ask Mayor Weatherly and other municipal leaders why they insist on handing out residential building permits knowing the schools don't have capacity for the incoming children. Heck, Weatherly wants everyone to vote against the next bond! Go figure.

  • Gottalovemy4dogs Sep 5, 2007

    I would like to know how and why the BOE fell behind. There have been tax dollars coming in with all the new people so why do we now have too many students and not enough schools? And if this is because of illegals, then why is that not being addressed as well? I understand that there are people on both sides of the year round issue but bottom line is that there are tons of families that are being put out because of the year round schedules. Why should us tax payers suffer because of the lack of planning by others?