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More Wake Co. Schools Slated For Year-Round Schedules

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RALEIGH, N.C. — As nearly 15,000 public-school students returned to class on a year-round schedule Monday, talk of converting more schools from a traditional calendar continued.

"Growth continues," said Wake County Superintendent Del Burns. "It is something we foresee in the future, and we're going to need every available seat."

The Wake County Public School System is the second largest school district in North Carolina and the 23rd largest in the nation.

Last school year, an estimated 120,000 students were enrolled in the school system. Another 6,000 are expected this school year. If the school population continues to grow at its current rate, Wake County forecasts 172,000 public-school students by 2015.

That is why year-round schools are becoming more of an option. School leaders say they maximize classroom space -- while one group of students is on break, another set is in class.

As many as 16 to 30 Wake County schools could be converted to year-round schedules for the 2007-2008 school year to help accommodate the booming student population that the school system is experiencing.

Just which schools that will be converted, however, is unclear.

The Board of Education meets with parent and teacher advisory groups on Thursday to discuss the criteria for selecting schools to convert. Feedback from the community is due next Monday and the school board meets next Tuesday to finalize the criteria.

The list of converted schools will be made public Aug. 15.

Some concerned parents hope demand will be at the top of the list of criteria.

"Where is the demand for year-round?" asked Hope Carmichael with the group Wake Families for School Choice. "Where are the people who want to convert? They are clearly out there."

And although Carmichael will be paying close to the school board's decision, she said she is afraid many other parents are not.

"There's another group of parents that's in full summer mode," she said. "They aren't thinking about school, and when that list is published Aug. 16, it's going to take them completely by surprise."

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