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Changes made to school reassignment proposal

Posted December 1, 2008
Updated December 2, 2008

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— As a group of Cary parents was coming together to fight the county's three-year school reassignment plan for 26,000 students, the school system was announcing changes to the draft because of complaints already raised.

As of last week, the school system had received 2,000 comments about the proposed plan, which is based on 10 new schools' opening and projected population growth. Based on parent concerns, four changes were announced Monday evening to the reassignment plan:

  • Assign areas along Harrison Avenue from Panther Creek to Cary High, rather than Athens High, based upon prior reassignment history.
  • Consolidate Yates Mill Elementary areas in a feeder pattern to Dillard Middle and Athens Drive High to strengthen the Athens base.
  • Leave areas at Green Hope based upon proximity and separation from other Cary High assignments.
  • Leave areas at Apex High in anticipation of future changes.

"The draft is changing from day to day,” said Chuck Dulaney, Wake County Public School System assistant superintendent for growth and planning.

The reassignment proposal is an attempt by the school system to begin planning for population growth and student movement more than one year in advance.

Parents and students heard about the changes at a Community Engagement Meeting at Cary High School, one of a series of meetings scheduled to gather opinion on the draft proposal.

"We are thrilled tonight,” Carolyn Sparano said after learning her child will go to Cary High after all.

Heather Schneider's child will also go to Apex High, instead of the proposed suggestion of Cary High. However, she is still nervous the plan could be changed back.

“It is not set in stone,” she said.

Some students, still being reassigned, said moving to another school would tear them from their friends.

"This reassignment will be very traumatic for me and my friends,” a student said.

Some parents said the proposed reassignment plan would send children outside their neighborhoods, to schools in other towns.

"Apex children are sent to Cary High and the Cary students are sent to Apex High,” a parent said.

"No one wants to lose the seats in their schools to accommodate someone that lives 20 miles away,” Wake County Board of Education member Ron 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. 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 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.

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

23 Comments

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  • work4rmhomemom Dec 9, 2008

    deduce is absolutely right. There is no way Wake County Public Schools can continue to try to manage Cary/Morrisville/Apex along with the rest of the county. It should be its own independent school system. In the meanwhile I applaud WCPSS efforts to try to give parents a plan that shows a forecast several years out. It makes it easier for us and the students to get at least a view of what's coming up.

    Now if we could just get the state to get rid of these ridiculous rubrics for elementary grading, we would be getting somewhere!

  • Adelinthe Dec 2, 2008

    The elephant in the room is the fact that they need to build smaller schools right in the communities and let the children who live in those communities go to them.

    They need to stop bussing to mega-schools which can't possibly be effectively taught or policed.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • deduce Dec 2, 2008

    It's a tough job to handle the growth. Harder when you're dealing with the entirety of Wake County. Wake County is too large for a unified school district. Break WCPSS up into smaller city/town systems and let them deal with localized growth plans. If nothing else, spin Cary/Apex/Morrisville off into its own school system.

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 2, 2008

    "cared to do anything about illegals none of this would be happening". I'd say this was incorrect. It makes the problem worse, but the problem was created by the huge influx of people moving here from other states in the last 20+ years.

  • Conservative Dec 2, 2008

    ContinuityMan said "There is a very simple solution to this social/psychological sham: Vote these bums out of office when their terms expire. Replace them with competent administrators ..."

    The only problem is these people run unopposed, the only voters that care are the ones who are immediately being affected, other voters simply don't care, lot of voters that do not have children don't care, etc. etc. etc. That is how incompetent administrators are surviving.

  • PaulRevere Dec 2, 2008

    Hello, there's huge elephant in the room!!! If anyone in the NC legislature cared to do anything about illegals none of this would be happening.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 2, 2008

    Quit wasting money on socio-economic based busing.

    Stop forced busing for socio-economic reasons. Send kids to the school closest to them.

    This will save more than what Wake County wants back from the school board.

  • newwake Dec 2, 2008

    I feel sorry for the people having to make these decisions. Everyone is so critical and I'm not sure a new group of people could do any better given the explosive growth. Sure school is about friends, but the bigger picture is about receiving a quality education.

  • superman Dec 2, 2008

    They will be spending a billion dollars over the next 5 years-- and who in their right mind-- would not recognize the fact that Wake County schools will be constantly changing and adjusting. People moving in and then people moving around. New schools being built every year. What planet are you living on to expect things to remain the same every year? We may not like the changes but then what else can they do? Perhaps if you sign up for Year Round schools you could select the school you want-- otherwise-- go with the flow. Population for Wake county has and is exploding.

  • wakemom Dec 2, 2008

    while longlasting friendships are great! i am looking at a bigger picture than this. my son will be in middle school in 3yrs. our base school is near the house now. with this new assignment he will be bussed out towards glenwood ave. i live in SE Raleigh. that is too far to be riding to school bc they feel that the area is overcrowded. where are these folks at? where is the development in SE Raleigh?

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