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Debate lingers over revised Wake reassignment plan

Posted January 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Parents, students and politicians took aim at the Wake school district's revised student-reassignment proposal during a public hearing Monday evening at Apex High School.

Parents, students protest new school plan Parents, students protest new school plan

Families in Churchill Downs, MacGregor Downs, Royal Ridge and Woods of Kildaire say they will be affected by reassignment. Although some students reside within five miles of Apex High and Cary High, the reassignment plan has them attending Raleigh's Athens Drive High.

Pam Taylor's ninth-grader could be one of those students switching schools.

"She is very upset. These are her friends. She doesn't know anyone at Athens,” Taylor said.

That was just the kind of concern school board member Eleanor Goettee said she wanted to hear about.

"We are listening and having the public talk and speak,” Goettee said.

Athens Drive is under its capacity, while Apex High is over its capacity, Goettee said.

However, families say mobile classrooms are opening at Apex, creating more than 380 seats. They also say data shows enrollment will decline in some neighborhoods.

The mayors of Cary and Apex, along with nearly 40 other people, spoke against the reassignment proposal at Monday's hearing.

"They are about to be torn away from their friends, their teachers, what they have known,” student Becky Darby said.

Under the latest plan, about 9,800 students will be reassigned next year, another 11,008 the following year and 4,677 in the 2011-2012 school year. The original plan would have moved nearly 1,000 more.

"Student assignment is a highly personal and potentially emotional issue,” school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said.

Administrators said they revised the plan after hearing from the public at five meetings attended by 1,800 people and after receiving more than 4,000 comments online.

School officials said the plan was developed primarily to account for projected growth and the planned openings of 10 new schools. The district also needs to make room for low-income students who are often bused to meet economic-diversity goals for each school.

School board members said more changes to the plan are expected.

"We are looking at tweaking (and) refining. There will be some changes the board will make to the proposal,” Gill said.

The next public hearings on the reassignment proposal will be:

  • Jan. 8 at Southeast Raleigh High School, 2600 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh
  • Jan. 12 at Millbrook High School, 2201 Spring Forest Road, Raleigh
  • Jan. 14 at Fuquay-Varina High School, 201 Bengal Blvd., Fuquay-Varina
  • Jan. 15 at East Wake High School, 5101 Rolesville Road, Wendell

The official hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium at 1501 Laura Duncan Road. The district's Web site has more information about speaking at the public hearings.

The Wake County Board of Education will finalize the reassignment plan by Feb. 3. Mailings will then be sent to the parents of affected students, who will know their final assignments by mid-May.


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  • ThinkExist Jan 7, 2009

    (continuation) and the students suffer from the aforementioned effects of bussing; reallocate the bussing funds to the underperforming school for tutors, etc. BUT also increase accountability at the school. (Lest schools intentionally underperform to get add'l funds).

    Return our schools to community schools where kids know it as part of their neighborhood, not as some distant, foreign land a half-day's journey away.

    2) Realize that not all schools have to be mega-campuses designed to hold 1500 students, but cramming in 2000+. Re-use older schools instead of retiring them. Completely refurbishing an older, community school is FAR cheaper than trying to buy land in an over-developed Wake county and building $20 million+ new sprawling schools.

    Build multi-story schools, utilizing vertical space. There is nothing wrong with ramps and elevators and two stories takes up half-the space.

    3) Understand that populations will grow, and grow obviously more than you estimate! PLAN!!!

  • ThinkExist Jan 7, 2009

    The constant reassignment is out of control. A small mom & pop business can project growth more accurately than the school system.

    Every year they claim unexpected growth, and shuffle kids around, reportedly due to overcrowding and to improve "balance". I call shenanigans!

    Solutions are relatively simple...

    1) Stop bussing kids 45 mins to an hour, one-way each day so you can achieve diversity and balance test scores. Children bussed from their own community to another community suffer through less home time, a lack of sense of community and poor parent participation at their distant schools. To top that off bussing costs tax-payers in increased bus-driver salaries, fuel costs, maintenance costs and the price of new busses.

    Identify your underperforming schools and divert that money to them, but with increased scrutiny. If one school is under performing and another is excelling, don't shuffle kids between the two so both become mediocre (more)

  • dws Jan 6, 2009

    when I hear parents referring to their children being reassigned 4 times in 4 years it most certainly is unreasonable

  • superman Jan 6, 2009

    Approximatel;y 25 new schools in the next 5 years and there are grown mature adults who think that reassignment is unreasonanble and unnecessary? The school system is not Burger King where every parent gets it their way! Kids require you to make changes in your personal life but then so does your job and other issues. As an adult you must learn to accept change. It is really sad that these kids have children as parents.

  • dws Jan 6, 2009

    Thank the good Lord my children are grown and out of Wake County schools! The School Board's mindset of a nomadic school system is preposterous.