Education

Parents weigh in on year-round schools in Wake County

Posted February 9, 2010 10:02 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2010 1:47 a.m. EST

— The Wake County Board of Education on Tuesday held its first of five community meetings on school calendar options.

The board sought parents' input at Holly Springs High, 5329 Cass Holt Road in Holly Springs, as it considers changes to student assignment.

"I want to say that we strongly support the multi-track year-round calendar,” parent Christa Riker-Sheets said.

Riker-Sheets is among the parents who want to keep student assignments as they are.

The school board recently surveyed parents about their attitudes toward the year-round calendar, which can accommodate more students than schools on a traditional calendar.

About 28 percent of parents in the district responded to the survey and when asked how satisfied they were with their child's current calendar, 83 percent of parents indicated that they were pleased – about 58 percent were "very satisfied" and nearly 25 percent were "satisfied."

However, some parents at Tuesday's meeting were not happy about the preliminary survey results.

"From the 2009-2010 calendar survey, do not let them tell you everything is perfect,” parent Warren Williams said.

Parent Liz Parry, who was among the less than 20 people who took to the podium, told the board that enough is enough.

"I think the subject of year-round has been talked to death in this community,” she said.

Board of Education Chairman Ron Margiotta said he expects to hear more debate in upcoming public forums, especially from parents at three year-round schools – Leesville Middle, Salem Middle and Wakefield Elementary.

Survey results from those schools had parents indicating they do not prefer year-round schools. Margiotta said he thinks changing student assignments is possible for those who want it.

"For the parts of the county that responded in a way that they are looking for change in calendar, there is wiggle room in that area,” Margiotta said.

Parents at other year-round schools were mostly in favor of the calendar, according to the survey.

Talk also turned Tuesday to the decade-old diversity policy, which buses students across school districts to help achieve socio-economic diversity.

"It's not working, it is a social-engineering program,” parent Art Wilson said.

Parent Nathaniel Wood could not disagree more.

"You are also going to return back to segregation,” he said.

The school system's diversity policy will be discussed Wednesday morning during a policy community meeting.

Upcoming public meetings on year-round schools are:

  • Thursday, Feb. 11 at Southeast Raleigh High, 2600 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh
  • Thursday, Feb. 18 at Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Road, Wake Forest
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Leesville Road High School, 8409 Leesville Road, Raleigh
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 at Panther Creek High School, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary

Each meeting runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the schools' auditoriums.