Wake County Schools

Wake school board to vote on possible calendar changes Tuesday

Posted September 16, 2014

— The Wake County Board of Education is expected to vote Tuesday on possible calendar changes for some of the county's over- and under-enrolled schools.

The board presented recommendations for five schools – Mills Park Elementary, Mills Park Middle, Alston Ridge Elementary, Ballentine Elementary and Wakefield Elementary – early this month, and members have been hearing from parents and school officials since.

Two options are on the table to alleviate overcrowding at Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle. The board could vote to bring in 21 modular classrooms at a cost of almost $2 million or switch the school from a traditional calendar to multi-track year-round.

Changes are also possible at the following schools:

  • Ballentine Elementary, currently a multi-track year-round school at 65 percent capacity, would lose its temporary classrooms and one of its tracks to boost capacity to 75 percent. The move would save $245,000 and eliminate six teacher positions. A new elementary school is planned for the area in 2018, but funding is yet to be determined.
  • Wakefield Elementary, currently a multi-track year-round school at 91 percent capacity, would be converted to a traditional calendar. The move would place the school in sync with the calendars at Wakefield middle and high schools. While it would increase the elementary school’s capacity to 108 percent, it would bring capacity below 100 percent if the school uses all 10 of its temporary classrooms. Abbotts Creek Elementary is scheduled to open in 2015 to help reduce overcrowding in the area.
  • Alston Ridge Elementary, a single-track year-round school at 112 percent capacity, would be converted to a multi-track school, which would reduce capacity to 85 percent. In addition, temporary classrooms could be added. The move would result in a cost of $160,000 for two temporary classrooms. A new elementary school is scheduled to open in the area in 2017 to help reduce overcrowding

Schools using a multi-track year-round calendar can enroll more students by operating on four separate tracks. Each track runs for about nine weeks, followed by a three-week break. The tracks are staggered so three tracks can operate at any given time.

The proposed calendar changes come as the district is also considering a student enrollment plan that would adjust attendance zones for 63 current schools to alleviate overcrowding and help fill 17 new schools the district plans to build over the next four years.

Officials project the district will grow by 18,000 students over the next four years. To address the influx of students, three schools are scheduled to open in 2015 (two elementary, one high), five in 2016 (four elementary, one middle), six in 2017 (five elementary, one high) and three in 2018 (two middle, one high).


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  • theliberadicator Sep 16, 2014

    "students do just as well (if not better) in year round schools"

    Do you have actual proof to prove that? Since you do not, the fact is what you WANT to believe and the reality of how the county has operated their year round experiment are two completely different things.

    As for blaming the previous group in control, that gives a better description of your thought process and so we thank you for presenting your own facts to the educational crisis that continues to siege Wake County.

    However, none of that matters. What matters is something I'd love to hear your made-up facts on. Even if every school were year round, and we know the board will never do that because of the backlash they know they would receive, how do they intend to handle the massive overcrowding once all those year round students need a high school seat?

    That's where the real issue lives and this board continues to refuse to address that element of their educational experiment.

    Talk about chaos.

  • Terry Watts Sep 16, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    The changes are for next year...

    As for the bond, it pays for the 17 new schools that will be built over the next 4 years, which will help alleviate the overcrowding and reassignments the article talks about...

  • AmazedAtThis Sep 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree 100%. I live in Cary, and am a full supporter of year round schools. They are a better use of tax dollars and students do just as well (if not better) in year round schools in terms of retention and continuous learning. They are not failures in concept, but the school board has somewhat failed in executing them, single tracks and not filling them and so forth. I attribute a lot of that to the Margiotta regime and that chaos, and I think the current board is trying to get back on track with year round to an extent. I also agree wholeheartedly that some of my fellow citizens over this way seem to be worried more about summer schedules than efficient use of tax dollars or improved learning scenarios.

  • MARX Sep 16, 2014

    InJames - have you seen the trailers? Divide that 2mil by 21 as noted in the article and then try to price an actual motor home trailer. The classrooms are units with HVAC, hallways, restrooms, lockers, etc. The only problem I've seen is they tend to wear faster and need more maintenance than brick/mortar buildings, but the cost per foot is quite a savings in comparison. Anyway, that figure is decent. I do agree, summer vacation needs to go, school is prep for the work...there's no long summer vacay in the US (that's another deal elsewhere).

  • AppStgrad Sep 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Definitely! The traditional school calendar was created when we were an agrarian society. Since that's not the case anymore sticking with it just for nostalgia's sake makes no sense. Those who oppose it should think about their reasons....

  • injameswetrust2003 Sep 16, 2014

    $2 million for trailers? The fiscally responsible thing to do, if I am reading this story correctly, is to switch to year-round. Sorry parents, but I'm not paying more taxes so that your summer vacation is uninterrupted.

  • busyb97 Sep 16, 2014

    Remember the good ole days of knowing school started right after Labor Day and ended with Memorial Day?

  • Hoyt Armstrong Sep 16, 2014
    user avatar

    lets see...seems like only a few years ago all you whinners elected this board...You get what you vote for...live with it

  • btneast Sep 16, 2014

    Let's see...they've seen all the problems with the "multi-track year rounds"...and are in the process of removing it from most of the schools, What??? Where did you hear that ludicrous notion? Both of my kids went through year round...they loved it, we loved it .....I feel like they got a MUCH better education. I would be willing to wager that 95% of those that opposed year round have never experienced it.

  • Jerry Sawyer Sep 16, 2014
    user avatar

    What we need to do is look into the politics of how the school system goes about buying land for each school. So wasteful.