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Parents voice concerns over Raleigh school's calendar conversion

Posted November 17, 2008
Updated November 18, 2008

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— Parents are already voicing concerns over the Wake County school system's draft plan to reassign more than 26,000 students over the next three years.

The school system made its plan public on its Web site last weekend.

Some parents of Leesville Road Middle School students are strongly against converting from a traditional calendar to a year-round schedule. They talked about their concerns Monday evening at public meeting held at the school.

“It is disruptive to families. It is disruptive to communities,” parent Richard Borris said.

School system leaders say year-round calendars will be a money-saver by helping reduce the need to build more schools.

"This is a situation which is immediately cost-effective and doable in a very quick way that other kinds of solutions aren't,” said Chuck Delaney, assistant superintendent of the Wake County Public School System.

Those with children at other schools could be particularly affected, with children on different schedules in the same household.

"What happened to keeping families together?” parent Lisa Boneham asked at the meeting.

Delaney said a move to a year-round schedule would open up 300 more spots at Leesville Road Middle – a campus already using more than 40 mobile classrooms.

"We need to generate space,” Delaney told the parents.

There are also parents who are for the conversion.

"I find it works really well for my family,” parent Heather Firm said.

Some of the parents have joined BiggerPicture4Wake to support the plan.

"It should, in the long run, reduce reassignments because we will be able to increase capacity and that will give them some wiggle room and flexibility. So when we get more students, we will have room for them,” Marguerite LeBlanc, spokesperson for BiggerPicture4Wake, said.

The school board will make a final decision of on the Leesville Road Middle calender in February.

About the reassignment plan


The school district's reassignment proposal, released Saturday, is an attempt to plan for the first time for population growth and movement more than a year in advance.

For 2008-2009, the first year of the plan, 8,162 students would be reassigned. Three new elementary schools will open up in eastern and southern Wake County, necessitating moving younger students in those areas.

Middle and high schoolers will also be moved in western Wake to relieve overcrowding, particularly in Cary.

The plan calls for the greatest number of students – 14,200 – to be reassigned in 2009-2010, when two high schools, two middle schools and one elementary school open. Most students moved will be in northern, western and southern Wake that year.

In 2010-2011, 4,409 students will be reassigned, as an elementary school and middle school open in northern and southeastern Wake.

The Wake County Board of Education will determine which reassigned students are eligible for grandfathering, allowing them to stay at their current schools. In the past, students have been required to provide their own transportation to school if they did not move.

The second and third years of the draft assume that the 10 schools will open as planned. However, their construction is dependent on capital funding and enrollment growth.

Overall, the number of students reassigned is comparable to those moved in the past three one-year plans.

How the plan was formed

More than 100 parents and educators met and discussed reassignment options for over 5,000 total person-hours. School system officials said they kept in mind the concerns that emerged from those planning sessions.

Of paramount importance was keeping the same students together through elementary, middle and high school.

Officials said they also considered schools' socioeconomic balance, the distance students would be bussed and the state's magnet-school policy.

Next steps

Taking into account public feedback, WCPSS staff will make their recommendations to the county Board of Education by Dec. 16.

The school board will hold a new round of public meetings and finalize the plan by or on Feb. 3, 2009.

The public meetings, each beginning at 6:30 p.m., are as follows:

  • Nov. 20 – Knightdale High, 100 Bryan Chalk Lane in Knightdale
  • Dec. 1 – Cary High, 638 Walnut St. in Cary
  • Dec. 3 – Wake Forest-Rolesville High, 420 W. Stadium Drive in Wake Forest
  • Dec. 4 – Holly Springs High, 5329 Cass Holt Road in Holly Springs
  • Dec. 8 – Broughton High, 723 St. Mary's St. in Raleigh

Mailings will then be sent out to the parents of affected students, who will know their final assignments by mid-May of next year.

24 Comments

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  • imrecyclin Nov 19, 2008

    No rhyme or reason to what Wake County does with our kids. It is all a sick game to them. Bigger Picture is a real misnomer. They are unknown within their own schools but spew the WCPSS spin as gospel. Patti Head promised a few favors in return for their support and they bit. Too bad Patti will be off the board in a year so they had better cash in soon. When a group of 5 unknown parents in an active community come out of the shadows I cry foul. Peel away the layers and you will find small minded individuals who mirror their board representative and do not care about families and teachers. Just themselves.

  • superman Nov 18, 2008

    Where have you been the last couple years. They are building new schools every year. They have to move students to try to keep students within some reasonable distance to their home. Without reassignment some student in north raleigh might have to be bused to Fuquay With new schools and new housing developments etc. reassignment is the only method they have of getting students to a school that is fairly close by. Sorry but you parents going to have to adjust. The school system will be in a state of flux for at least the next 5 years or even longer. People continue to move to this area. Just because different age children are standing at the bus stop-- you can reach an assumption that they are being bused across town? If you can solve the school problem-- please put your name on the ballot and get elected to the school board.

  • thinkingofthefuture Nov 18, 2008

    In Holly Springs, we are being made to move from a converted year round school to a traditional calendar school. I would like Wake County to explain that one! I was not for year round conversion, but wanted to stay at my school, so I adjusted to it, I found it wasn't bad if your whole family is on the same schedule (I think it is very hard to have traditional calendar and year round calendar within the same family)...and now this is what we get in return for sticking with our school and accepting the year round calendar...being sent to a traditional school in 2010. You can't count on anything.

  • shell24 Nov 18, 2008

    I am reading the post and what happens when you are in my situation. I have sophomore at Southeast Raleigh High (Modified year round), a 6th grader at East Millbrook Middle(traditional) and a 4th grader at Fox Road Elementary (traditional) My 4th grader will be re-assigned to Wakefield elementary a multi track year round school. There is no way we could have a balanced home life. My husband and I would have a mad house and we could forget our yearly family vacation. We have enough trouble trying to figure things out with one child being in modified year round school where there are no tracks everyone at the school is on the same schedule. He plays football and baseball as well. I do not have a problem with year round schools, however I feel that each child in a household should be on the same track. I have a co-worker with two daughters she fought to have her girls on the same track ...the school board said NO...It has been tough on her..JUST NOT FAIR!!!!

  • jsanders Nov 18, 2008

    WCPSS provided fresh illustration of their lack of focus on pleasing the families of the children they serve:
    http://www.johnlocke.org/spotlights/display_story.html?id=207

  • whatelseisnew Nov 18, 2008

    larryhorse77 - a one billion dollar budget for wake county alone does not equal cheap for the masses. It is the most expensive option on the table.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 18, 2008

    larryhorse77 - when you add the total cost of buying land, borrowing money to build the building, borrowing money to maintain the building, transportation, and then all the administrative overhead the GOVERNMENT system is far more costly. Then when you factor in the abysmal results and the indoctrination of the children, it is a no-brainer. The public system needs to be shut down.

  • inform Nov 18, 2008

    Here we go again. My oldest is in the first grade, on year round, and is doing quite well. Year round is better for the kids and a better use of facilities. It's the parents who don't like it, get over it!!!

  • cocker_mom Nov 18, 2008

    Wake County is in a particularly weird situation - growing fairly rapidly during an economic downturn. Making more schools year round is the correct alternative as taxes cannot be raised and money isn't flowing like it used to. This is a prudent and cost effective alternative (it's also faster) and provides more flexibility. I think that parents are going to have to realize that sooner or later, all schools will be year round - I think it's almost required in order to prepare students for college and real life. We're working longer hours, but we're more flexible, we're connected, but you see fewer folks taking these long vacations, etc. The world is different - it's not the Cleavers....

    As a taxpayer - I would not want to pay for new school construction when there are options to better utilize the existing schools / infrastructure without that capital investment. I pay a decent amount of taxes and have no kids - don't I count?

  • ty will belabor a point Nov 18, 2008

    the nest time you see or find a school that costs less to go too and at the same time be private you let me and the rest of the community know./endquote

    What the poster is saying, and I agree with wholeheartedly isn't that it exists today, what they are saying is that if you give parents a "CHOICE" of where to send your kid to school by decreasing their tax liability to "Public (re: lowest common denominator) Schools" in the form of credits or vouchers will result in more competition in private schools for those funds and therefore lower cost and better overall schools. I currently send my children to private schools because I refuse to let the government educate them. Seriously, all you proponents of public schools, tell me one thing the government does right... Just one...

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