School leaders fail to reach decision about reassignment of Cary students

Posted November 15, 2016

— Wake County Schools leaders on Tuesday got the final draft of the new student assignment plan for the next school year but have not yet decided whether students in one Cary community will get to remain in their current schools.

Three new schools are opening next year due to overcrowding at existing schools. For some Cary fourth graders, that could mean switching elementary schools in 2017 before heading to a new middle school a year later.

"So my kid has to go to three different schools in four years. This is ridiculous," said parent Fang Liang.

The third version of the plan adds Horton's Creek Elementary School, which will pull students from existing schools, including Mills Park Elementary. Families who want their kids to stay at Mills Park, though, think the plan arbitrarily moves students from one school to another.

"We really do all have hearts, we don't just look at numbers," said school board chair Tom Benton. "We are opening a new elementary school and we can't keep asking to build new schools and not fill them up."

Parents have campaigned hard for district leaders to reconsider the plan but have been unsuccessful so far.

Parents in the Cary Park and Blackstone communities have been vocal, but the reassignment remained in the third draft.

"I am truly baffled and I am sure our group is truly baffled that there have been no changes to the recommendations," said parent Jason Hillenbach.

Parents say they have looked at the numbers and believe, in time, the new school will be overcrowded as well.

"The data clearly shows there is no benefit to dividing our neighborhood of Cary Park," Hillenbach said.

School board members said they will need to go over the numbers one more time before making a final ruling.

"We did not reach a decision tonight about what is going ot end up happening, particularly with the Cary Park area," Benton said.

School board members are expected to discuss the matter again at a meeting later this month. A vote on the reassignment proposal is set for December.


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  • Byrd Ferguson Nov 16, 2016
    user avatar your Mills Park families to those in downtown Raleigh that get switched all the time (because the board knows they aren't politically active and won't cause a fuss.) Not to mention your PTA's gross income in western wake. Stop complaining.

  • Betsy Sparks Nov 15, 2016
    user avatar

    As a parent who has had her childrens' school assignments changed for location and calendar 4 times over the past 6 years, I'm sympathetic. The School Board touts how 98% of the students aren't affected. What they don't say is that the same 2% are switched in every reassignment plan. They switch kids to a new school, then switch those same kids to a different school as soon as that school fills up. So many of the families that were assigned to Mills Park when it opened have been reassigned at least once since then, and in some cases their calendars have been forcibly changed. So yes, it's the same people complaining each time, because it's the same neighborhoods being switched repeatedly. We'd just like to be able to put our kids in a school and know they can stay there until moving up to middle/high school - and then not see them get switched over and over again once they move up.

  • Andy Jackson Nov 15, 2016
    user avatar

    Indeed.....let's satisfy all the Cary parents, and the heck with all the other COUNTY parents who will have to follow the same plans the school board implements. There's more to Wake County than Cary and Raleigh. Just saying.