Apex parents, students attend reassignment meeting
Posted January 5, 2009 5:48 a.m. EST
Updated January 5, 2009 7:56 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Parents and students affected by reassignment rallied outside Apex High School, before gathering inside for a public hearing Monday evening on the Wake school district's revised student-reassignment proposal.
Families in Churchill Downs, MacGregor Downs, Royal Ridge and Woods of Kildaire say they will be affected by reassignment. Although some students reside within five miles of Apex High and Cary High, the reassignment plan has them attending Athens Drive High in Raleigh.
The hearing is the first of five to be held in coming days. The official hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium at 1501 Laura Duncan Road. The next public hearings will be:
- Jan. 8 at Southeast Raleigh High School, 2600 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh
- 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
The district has more information about speaking at the public hearings.
The Wake County Board of Education will finalize the reassignment plan by Feb. 3. Mailings will then be sent to the parents of affected students, who will know their final assignments by mid-May.
Under the latest plan, about 9,800 students will be reassigned next year, another 11,008 the following year and 4,677 in the 2011-2012 school year. The original plan would have moved nearly 1,000 more.
Ed Green, who is raising his three daughters in Cary's MacGregor Downs, was among the parents unhappy with the revised proposal.
“This neighborhood has been assigned to Apex High for at least 30 years,” Green said.
Instead of Apex, about 80 students may now go to Athens Drive High.
“Why they're going to take these two nodes (areas) out of the middle of Cary and Apex and send them inside the Beltline just doesn't make any sense,” Green said.
Green said there is also a chance that current Apex High students could be grandfathered in. So Katherine, who is a freshman, would stay. However, Melissa, an eighth-grader, would start her freshman year at Athens Drive.
“We can't have kids going to two different high schools. I mean, what football games would we go to on Friday night? It is just going to be crazy,” Green said.
“I certainly understand these folks' concerns. I do indeed,” school board member Eleanor Goettee said.
Goettee represents the affected neighborhood on the school board.
“We’ve got to use capacity where we have it,” she said.
Athens Drive is under its capacity, while Apex High is over its capacity, Goettee said.
However, families say mobile classrooms are opening at Apex, creating more than 380 seats. They also say data show enrollment will decline in their neighborhood by 6 percent, annually.
“We’re just trying to do everything we can to influence the school board to understand that this is a bad decision,” Green said.
Administrators said they revised the plan after hearing from the public at five meetings attended by 1,800 people and after receiving more than 4,000 comments online.
School officials said the plan was developed primarily to account for projected growth and the planned openings of 10 new schools. The district also needs to make room for low-income students who are often bused to meet economic-diversity goals for each school.