Wake County Schools

Wake school board to discuss controversial track changes

Posted April 29, 2011 5:29 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The controversial issue of converting some year-round schools to a common schedule is expected to be discussed next week by the Wake County Board of Education.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Tony Tata suggested that principals at under-enrolled schools be allowed to change from three or four attendance tracks to a single-track schedule for the 2011-2012 school year.

The schools in question are Alston Ridge, Ballentine, Banks Road, East Garner, Harris Creek, Highcroft, Lake Myra, Rand Road, River Bend, Timber Drive, Wakefield and West Lake elementary schools and East Cary and Holly Grove middle schools.

The single track, Tata said, would help save $50,000 per school by lowering staffing expenses.

Because year-round schools rotate four "tracks" of students through a schedule of nine weeks of classes and three-week vacations, the schools can accommodate more students than traditional schools. One track is always on break.

Parents of students who will be affected have been asked to fill out surveys online by midnight Saturday.

The community group Great Schools in Wake County has raised concerns about the move and asked Tata to put the issue on hold until reassignment plans are complete.

On Friday, Tata said he plans to move forward with recommendations next week.

"You have to look at it by student. You have to look at in the near term, and you also have to look at it in the long term, and that's what we're doing," Tata said.

Tata said he would carefully consider feedback from parents before making his proposal to the board.