Apex, N.C. — For one Wake County family, the proposal to reassign nearly 10,000 students is very personal: It could send their 8-year-old to his fourth school in five years.
"We didn't expect we were going to be moved around like pawns in a chess game," father Charles Miller said.
The Millers live in the county, just outside Apex. Since their son, Chad, started school, he has attended schools in Apex, Raleigh and, potentially, Holly Springs.
Chad entered kindergarten at West Lake Elementary, was reassigned to Oak Grove for first grade and then switched to Middle Creek for second grade. Chad stayed there for third grade, but the draft reassignment plan would put him at Holly Springs Elementary School next year.
"I don't see how that is good for a child to be moved four times and still be in elementary school when our house hasn't moved," Miller said
School board member Eleanor Goettee said the school system does not intend for a child to be reassigned so many times and that she sympathizes with such families.
"Even with the most sophisticated software that we use, even with the most expert staff ... there can be some unintended consequences that come out of the draft," Goettee said.
Board members say that parents can apply for a transfer after the plans have been approved. Often, those affected by reassignment argue for neighborhood schools or for a traditional, nine-month school calendar.
Miller said that the reassignments his son has undergone are particularly ironic – given that his parents opted to put him in year-round school.
"We're embracing what they want to be done, and we're being penalized the most," Miller said.
Goettee said the school board wants to hear from families with potential hardships at a series of public hearings on the reassignment proposal. One was held Thursday evening. The next meetings will be held:
- 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