Wake welcomes 159,000 students to 177 schools
Posted August 28, 2016
Updated August 29, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — An estimated 159,000 students (that's up 1,000 students from last year) will return to Wake County classrooms Monday morning when traditional calendar schools kick off the new 2016-17 school year.
"Our student population continues to grow, and their needs continue to evolve, so we are opening six brand-new schools this year," said Matt Dees, an official with the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS).
The new schools include four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school, bringing Wake County's total school count to 177.
Pine Hollow Middle School opened in Raleigh in July for year-round students, and the remaining schools will open their doors to students for the first time on Monday.
Beaverdam Elementary (Raleigh), Oakview Elementary (Apex), Pleasant Grove Elementary (Morrisville) and White Oak Elementary (Apex) will each serve 800 to 900 students in 52 classrooms, alleviating overcrowding in other area elementary schools.
Crossroads FLEX, a new small high school in Cary, will initially serve approximately 75 to 100 students whose outside interests and activities require attention during school hours. "This could be anything from sports or artistic endeavors that require hours of intense practice to students who need to work to help support their families," said Dees. At Crossroads FLEX, students will have very flexible schedules and will take many online courses off-site.
With an increase in students and school buildings comes a need for more teachers, and 19,000 staff members (including more than 10,000 teachers) will serve Wake County students for the new school year. More than 4,000 teachers in Wake County schools have advanced degrees, and more than 2,500 have earned National Board Certification.
School meal prices increase
Several changes are in affect for the new 2016-17 school year, including an increase in school meal prices - the first price increase in six years.
At elementary schools, full-paid meals will increase 25 cents to $1.25 for breakfast and $2.25 for lunch. At middle and high schools, full-paid meals will increase 25 cents to $1.50 for breakfast and $2.50 for lunch. Parents can contribute to their child’s school meals account at www.MySchoolBucks.com or call (855) 832-5226.
New information about school bus routes
Officials with WCPSS ask families to check that their bus routes have not changed for the new school year. Students and parents can find their bus routes posted online at www.wcpss.net/routes. Bus riders should arrive at their bus stop 15 minutes early for the first several days of school, officials said.
Dr. Jim Merrill, the superintendent for Wake County schools, asks bus riders and their guardians to be patient this school year, as fewer bus drivers are on the road than last year. "I think we always forget that we're running over 700 buses amidst rush hour traffic that continues to increase every year," said Merrill. "I'm sure we'll be fine as we shake it out."
Stay alert, motorists
Most importantly, with an increase in traffic that includes young drivers and pedestrians on the road and school bus stops, officials ask motorists to remain alert and pay close attention to their speeds Monday morning as they head to work.