Local News

Wake school board changes year-round policy

Posted May 5, 2009

— The Wake County Board of Education voted Tuesday to return to a 2007 policy of not requiring parental consent when it comes to assigning students to year-round schools.

The decision means the district will be able to compel students to attend year-round schools beginning with the 2009-2010 school year.

Board members insisted the plan would still allow families to opt out because of conflicting schedules. Ron Margiotta was the only board member to vote against the plan.

For the past two years, the school system has asked parents for permission following a Superior Court ruling requiring it to do so.

The state Supreme Court on Friday sided with a Court of Appeals ruling that school leaders have the authority to make assignments.

School board members said their decision Monday will directly affect about 1,200 students whose parents haven't given permission in the past.

The policy is likely to draw criticism from parents who see it as the elimination of choice.

Margiotta said it could become an election issue in October when four board seats will be decided by voters.

"It's one of the symptoms of what's wrong with the school system – an unwillingness to listen to parents," Margiotta said. "Compromises could have been made prior to the court suit."

School district staff said it will help principals plan for how many teachers and staff they need for students.

Parents will have the opportunity to apply for a transfer for the upcoming school year later this month.

Typically, 95 percent of those who follow process and apply for traditional-calendar schools are assigned there, school board members said.

Wake County's public school system is the largest in the state and one of the fastest-growing in the country.

It grew more than 30 percent since 2000 to more than 128,000 students enrolled during the 2006-2007 school year, when the school board assigned 20,717 students to year-round schools.

Fewer than 3,000 of those students had attended year-round schools before.

Because year-round schools rotate four "tracks" of students through a schedule of nine weeks of classes and three-week vacations, the schools can accommodate more students than traditional schools. One track is always on break.

The school board said though it opened 33 new schools since July 2000 and planned to build 31 more in the next five years, it needed a way to cope with another 65,000 students expected by 2015.

The Wake County board's 2007 decision expanded its student assignment plan, in which every year-round school had a portion of students involuntarily assigned since 2003.

102 Comments

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  • almost native May 6, 7:02 p.m.

    How much do you want to bet the people who like y-r have kids on tracks 1 or 4 and/or don't kids of different ages and therefore kids in middle or high school on traditional while the elementary kids are on y-r? Track 2 is great, huh? Being in school pretty much all summer is my idea of fun.

    Do most people also realize that y-r schools have illnesses floating around all year? The front office at the school my son was at told me they have strep throat in July b/c the buildings never clear out and therefore the kids just keep passing these things from one track to the next.

  • gpcherokee May 6, 1:13 p.m.

    Hey ya'll. Let's change 'year round' to 'be square'.

  • Space Mountain May 6, 12:41 p.m.

    These parents need to quit their whining and move back north if they don't like it so much. It is just stupid to not use the schools the whole year. I say make EVERY school year-round, from elementary to high school. I do think that kids in the same house should be on the same track, though. And that can be worked out. I am just tired of these parents whining about it all the time. I guess their vacation is more important than their kids' education.

  • msnfnp May 6, 10:33 a.m.

    This is the reason my child is in private school!

    However, it could be worse here in Wake County. There is a school district in Sunrise, FL that is on a traditional calendar. The catch is some kids go to school the "first" 6 hours of the day and the rest go the "second" 6 hours. How would you like your kids to be in school all afternoon into the early evening? I know I wouldn't!

  • TheAdmiral May 6, 10:29 a.m.

    My question to you whiney parents is: Why are you surprised? You had no footing to begin with because the school system made it that way.

    You want control over your childs education, then take an active role in it and take them out of the public socialist indoctrination school system.

    Put them into a charter school or home school them. You do not, or are you required to, put your kids in the public system.

    The problem is that you prefer to do what is easy and convenient, rather than to do what is right for the child, but in the same breath - you say you want what is best for the child.

    Someone is lying.

  • NE Raleigh May 6, 10:28 a.m.

    This was the school boards version of giving the parents of Wake County the finger. At least 3 of the 4 board members said they will not seek re-election. Horace Tort is still deciding. I thought I saw in today's paper that Horace Tort actually voted against this, along with Ron Margiotta. The vote actually was 5 to 2. So 3 out of the 5 members who voted for this will not seek re-election. Surprised? The agenda of bussing and diversity rolls on. There must be a better way folks.

  • dmnynkee May 6, 9:04 a.m.

    " Boycott the End of Grade Exams (EOGs) by keeping our children at home. "

    Why - they'll just make them take the makeup test -- you can't get promoted to the next grade without an EOG

    Your "only choice" is remove you child from public school, even though you will now have to home school, or pay private school tuition. We really need to get more people to run for BOE that will work for what the PARENTS want, not just what the educators want.

  • time4real May 6, 9:04 a.m.

    it's AMAZING how many of you that post here have NO CLUE! NONE!

    " I hear 4 of them are not even running again "

    really, which 4?

  • time4real May 6, 9:03 a.m.

    yeah, just ask for track 4, see if you get it after yesterday's decision. YOU DON'T GET TO REQUEST A TRACK any longer and those of you thinking you're safe cause you're already on what track you want, NOT, tracks are all going to be changed thanks to 4 rogue judges and a school board with as much concern for you as they have for sewage!

  • dmnynkee May 6, 9:00 a.m.

    I understand the school board's need to plan and arrange, and so far within the guidelines already used they have been able to "accommodate" every parent that wanted to opt-out with transportation (provided you are looking for the deadline in February) -- why can't they continue that policy and throw a bone to the parents?

    And vote them out -- I hear 4 of them are not even running again - they probably understand their choices so far would mean a landslide for any opponent.

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