Morrisville parents want to keep their neighborhood school

Posted April 5, 2010 10:52 p.m. EDT
Updated April 6, 2010 12:44 a.m. EDT

— A group of Morrisville parents who support the Wake County Board of Education’s neighborhood-schools concept say they fear proposed assignment changes could send their children to a school farther from home.

Parents in the Breckenridge and McCrimmon at the Park neighborhoods say they have a neighborhood school and are happy. Now they've learned that their traditional-calendar option could change to Weatherstone Elementary School. The parents say the school is farther away than Cedar Fork Elementary School, where their children currently attend.

"We just want a neighborhood school like we have had in the past,” parent Elizabeth Benjamin said. “Weatherstone does not make sense. It is double the distance from our neighborhood.”

Hundreds of parents signed a petition Monday evening stating that they don't want their children attending Weatherstone.

"(Weatherstone) is almost 10 miles away from home,” parent Shuyun Mu said.

The proposed assignment change comes weeks after the school board voted to move to community-based schools and away from the district's longstanding busing policy to achieve socioeconomic diversity, which allows no school more than 40 percent of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunches.

The Morrisville parents WRAL News spoke with Monday said they support the board’s direction but so far, their changes are not giving them a better choice.

"They have reassigned us to a non-neighborhood school, which is very upsetting,” Benjamin said.

Newly elected school board member Deborah Prickett said the assignment changes affecting Breckenridge and McCrimmon at the Park neighborhoods appear be an un-intended consequence of board’s vision of community schools.

"It is like a domino effect. As you pull one thing and change one thing, it impacts something else,” Prickett said.

Prickett understands why the parents are upset, and said she plans to address their concerns.

"I am not in favor of them going to Weatherstone. That is what I am advocating for,” she said.

A final vote on community-based student assignment is on the agenda for the school board's meeting Tuesday.

Those who wish to attend can claim a voucher for seating beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the system's Administration Building, 3600 Wake Forest Road.

There will be 153 vouchers available, based upon the capacity of the board meeting room.

As people leave the room, vouchers will be recycled and additional people will be allowed inside.

Tuesday's meeting will be the second time the school board uses tickets to control crowd size. At its last public meeting, on March 23, board chairman Ron Margiotta said he set time limits on public comments and implemented the ticket policy to adhere to building fire codes and other safety concerns.