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Apex parents rally against school reassignment

Posted November 23, 2008
Updated November 24, 2008

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— A group of parents in Apex is coming together to fight the Wake school system's plan to reassign more than 26,000 students over the next three years as news schools open and the district grows.

“We will do whatever we have to do to fight this. We are totally outraged,” parent Rob Galvin said.

Armed with a petition and a PowerPoint presentation, Galvin is helping lead the charge to stop students from changing schools in Apex. He and other parents met Sunday evening to discuss how they can fight the reassignment proposal that would move an estimated 200 students from Apex High School to Cary High School next year.

“My main concern is the quality of education. That was the main reason we moved into the neighborhood that we are in, is to get the quality of education,” parent Nander Brown said.

The reassignment proposal is an attempt by the Wake County Public School System to begin planning for population growth and student movement more than a year in advance. District authorities said planning for three years would save money for schools and lessen aggravation for families.

The school system also says it needs to make room for low-income students who are often bused to schools to achieve economic diversity.

“There is no evidence to show if you bus a kid across town, they do better,” parent Marcy Bullock said.

Wake County Board of Education member Ron Margiotta was at the community rally in Apex Sunday night. He is against redistricting for economic reasons.

"We aren't in the Bronx, N.Y. We aren't in Detroit. This is Wake County, and those lower-income students can and should get the same education in their own communities,” Margiotta said.

The public is invited to comment on the plan in public meetings through Dec. 10. Public meetings, each beginning at 6:30 p.m., are as follows:

  • 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 

About the plan

For 2009-2010, 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 2010-2011, 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 2011-2012, 4,409 students will be reassigned as an elementary school and a 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 year 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.

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

61 Comments

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  • hkypky Nov 26, 2008

    Let me summarize ... some of you believe that is just fine that WCPSS has manufactured a public school system over the past 20-25 years that, should you do not agree to their terms, requires you to either move or downgrade your fancy car(s), sell your vacation home, and quit those pillates classes in order to send your kid(s) to private school (aka in financial terms, send your kid to college for 12 years).

    Sorry, but that doesn't fly with me. It is not and should not be acceptable, for each and every year of your childs K-12 education, the potential exists for their school to change out from under them.

  • teacher56 Nov 25, 2008

    Get over it already!!! Kids are bussed to achieve a balance in the schools. If you don't think that it matters, become a teacher and teach in the system. Otherwise, get out or put up with change.

  • yellow_hat Nov 24, 2008

    I am so thankful my youngest is a senior, and our family will no longer be held hostage by the whims of WCPSS. This behemoth no longer serves the public good and should be dismantled into 6-8 smaller community school systems. Bigger is not better.

    I wish the Apex parents good luck, and keep fighting for what is right.

  • Truly4u2nv Nov 24, 2008

    bs101fly, I guess you fall under the category of ignorance as well.

  • bs101fly Nov 24, 2008

    "Mr. Margiotta is so ignorant. Not everyone in The Bronx, NY or Detroit is low income"

    maybe not, but 99% of them are annoying!

  • trafalgerfountain Nov 24, 2008

    "If you dont like what this goofy county system provides, downgrade your fancy car / vacation home / pillates classes and send your kid to a private school."

    OK, what if your cars are paid for, you have no summer home, and don't take any classes or spend on many frills ? Have you priced private school ? I have and simply can't do it for two kids.

  • LookN4Reality Nov 24, 2008

    When the Dept. of Growth and Planning makes a reassignment recommendation that is blatantly illogical and harmful to your kids, to your family, to your neighborhood, then parents SHOULD stand up and say so! This is not "whining"; this is being a parent looking out for your child's and family's welfare. We have experienced a number of reassignments and have pulled out of the school system at one time due to the damage that the change was causing one of our children. We downsized and moved for the sake of our kids. I am involved at 3 different schools, on 2 different schedules. This schedule has been extremely difficult on our family life. Having two of the kids together at Apex High next year was going to make this scheduling nightmare a bit more manageable. However, with the reassignment of nodes 381.1 and 381.7 out of Apex High, to drive past other Apex High assigned nodes, to be sent to Cary JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE and will make things even more difficult for our family.

  • kimmyrn6 Nov 24, 2008

    Happymom, actually, I grew up in Cary. We had ONE High school, two junior high schools and a handful of elementary schools. Apex had ONE high school. There was NEVER ANY reassignment. They added magnets schools in for "diversity," ahem, but we were doing quite fine before the YANKEE influx. Y'all didn't bless us with your presence as you seem to think. . .

  • iamrunningalong Nov 24, 2008

    poohperson - me too. I'd like to know how much they get in title 1 funds - and how much they SPEND on magnet programs in schools that DO NOT NEED THEM. Why not take some of that magnet school funding and "share the wealth".

    Some magnets are totally serving a need - but others are not. Nobody seems to have the kahuna's to really define a set of criteria that a magnet must meet every YEAR in order to keep it's status.

  • Truly4u2nv Nov 24, 2008

    We aren't in the Bronx, N.Y. We aren't in Detroit. This is Wake County, and those lower-income students can and should get the same education in their own communities,” Margiotta said.

    Mr. Margiotta is so ignorant. Not everyone in The Bronx, NY or Detroit is low income and who is he to say that Wake County is better than the others. Everyone wants a better education for their children. To stereotype cities is just wrong, it's just like stereotyping people in general.

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