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Renovations at Garner School on Hold After Enrollment Impasse

Posted December 11, 2007

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— Members of the Wake County school board's facilities committee decided Tuesday to hold off on renovations at Smith Elementary School following a demand from Garner officials.

The town's Board of Aldermen voted to require the Wake County Public School System to reduce the number of low-income children in schools in order to get a Certificate of Occupancy at Smith Elementary and Aversboro Elementary schools.

Town leaders blame the school district's policy of busing in low-income students from southeast Raleigh. Poverty rates are measured by the number of students who get free and reduced lunch.

Smith Elementary has the district's highest concentration with 70 percent of students receiving free and reduced price lunches. Avensboro has 53 percent receiving free and reduced-price lunch. The board's goal is to keep schools under 40 percent.

School officials decided Tuesday to move ahead with renovations at Aversboro Elementary. They said students would be able to use a new elementary school currently under construction if they hit a road block with Garner town officials.

"People have asked me if this is about race. It 's about the human race," said Mayor Ronnie Williams. “If Garner schools were treated equally, we’d have healthy percentages of (kids who receive) free and reduced lunches."

"It is true that Garner and eastern Wake County have higher percentages of affordable housing, which means you have a higher percent of low-income families," said Chuck Dulaney, the school system's director of growth management.

Board members have argued that students who go to Smith Elementary live near the school. They said they may have to bus in students to balance the schools.

Garner leaders have fought the district over the issue on many occassions. At one point, they talked to lawyers in Charlotte about a possible lawsuit. This summer, they fought the location of a new high school.

School Board Chair Rosa Gill said she'll work to set up a meeting with Garner town officials to discuss the issue as soon as possible. It is not yet known if the meeting will be open to the public.


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  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 12, 2007

    Think you missed my point. Compare the 3 schools my eldest attended - Aversboro Elem, E Garner Middle, and Garner High, with Fuquay Elem, Middle, and High (because they all have Fuquay in the name). All Fuquay FRL ratios are about 20 points lower than the Garner Schools. Conversely, the performance measures (EOGs, etc) are all higher for the FV schools than the Garner schools. So, imagine that! FV has lower FRLs, and higher performance! (I fully realize that you can probably find a specific school in Garner and FV in which the roles are reversed.) In no way do I think my children are too good to go to school with any segment of the population. What I do think is unfair is that Garner schools are subjected to a FRL % that is significantly higher than the county average. (The FRL % for the 3 FV schools denoted above are right at the co. avg.)

    And since you've chosen to attack me directly, as opposed to having a 'grown up' conversation, I choose this to be my final post to you.

  • poohperson2000 Dec 12, 2007

    Perhaps this will refresh your memory on how issues ending up unfolding with Garner and YR schools.


  • poohperson2000 Dec 12, 2007

    BTW, it not like I live inside the beltline, I live in Fuquay. Bus the kids somewhere else and let Garner form their own system and fend for themselves. You will find that it is not as easy as you think.

  • poohperson2000 Dec 12, 2007

    Sorry that I do not live in Garner but still have an opinion. To me kids with FRL are not any different than other children. I know some people would argue and feel differently, but that is my opinion. Kids that come from families with money, can still be trouble and perform poorly at school. The only people that are okay with labeling are those that feel like their label is a "good" one. And do not say that if we did not bus, these kids would not be labeled if they attended neighborhood schools (which most kids bused from Raleigh into Garner only have magnet schools to choose from). Funny thing is Garner schools do not seem to be in the news for violence, poor scores, or other assorted issues. What is the complaint if the kids and the schools are performing. The only difference is you think your middle class kid is too good to go to school with someone who has a less fortunate family.. For goodness sakes, grow UP!

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 12, 2007

    So at the end of the day, you don't live in Garner and your children apparently go to schools with low FRLs. You are incorrect that the Mayor brought the issue up during the year-round 'debate'. It was brought up, again and again, well before then. But, since there appeared to be the possibility of significant school reassignments, that did seem an opportune time to press the issue. And the School Board meeting I attended at N Garner Middle seemed to indicate a preference for year round schools, especially to have a yr-round middle in Garner instead of going all the way to Apex. (Except for the crowd of Broughton parents who were afraid their offspring might be, gasp, shipped to Athens Dr or elsewhere)

  • poohperson2000 Dec 12, 2007

    they will still have to focus on kids passing tests rather than actually teaching, and there will be no busing to help these schools meet the criteria when they fall below the mark.

  • poohperson2000 Dec 12, 2007

    It is less than what you need to have the Title I program because we lost that this year because it is based on FRL. It was an excellent program and was well run at our school. I know some people in the past have been in schools where the program was poorly run.

    It is nice that YR seems to work for you, Garner was one of the areas that was really against it, and they cited overcorwding at the traditional schools when everone opted out of YR. I just feel the mayor brought this issue up in the heart of the YR debate and threatened suing because it worked for Wake Cares. I question his timing and his tactics, and feel it was a ploy to be able to scare the School Board into letting him control the fate of the schools in Garner. Just as the whole Wake Cares issue made Apex look and feel like they were in control. Let Apex, and Garner, and Cary have their own systems. I think you will find very little about the children's educations will change. The teachers will still be underpaid, they

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 12, 2007

    No one is saying that any kid is not entitled to an education. What we are saying is if this is truly a county-wide school system, and if we are going to have busing anyway, let's make the distribution equitable across the county. And yes, most certainly some are being bused out by choice. One of mine was until this year (when we finally got a yr-round middle after 7-8 yrs of having a yr-round elem). The reason that we, and others I have spoken with, chose to have ours bussed out was very much a part of this issue - because we could go year-round elsewhere that had better test scores and fewer discipline problems than our base school. And part of the reason the base was underachieving was because of the high FRL %. Pooh, what are the FRL % at your child's school?

  • poohperson2000 Dec 12, 2007

    The kids being bused out of Garner may be doing do by choice. Even if the FRL ratio was lower they probably still would not want to be there. What is the make up of Garner if you bus no one in our out? The average is middle to lower class I would guess. I live in the country in Southern Wake, where we have farm land and plenty of lower income kids. It does not matter what their parenets make, they are still entitled a education.

  • NE Raleigh Dec 12, 2007

    This would be the perfect opportunity for Garner to form its own school system, with its own school board. Cary,Holly Springs/Apex,Wake Forest/Rolesville should do the same. City of Raleigh should operate independently.It's obvious the County run system isn't working.