Year-Round School Opponents Promise To Continue Fight
Posted September 18, 2006 7:53 a.m. EDT
APEX, N.C. — About 400 parents, teachers and politicians gathered at Apex Town Hall on Sunday to promise to continue their fight against the Wake County Board of Education's plan for mandatory year-round schools.
The school board voted 7-1 on Sept. 5 in favor of a plan to convert 19 elementary schools to a year-round schedule, which would mean an additional 3,000 classroom seats, beginning with the 2007-2008 school year.
Students at year-round schools attend classes for the same number of days as those at traditional schools, but they have short breaks spread throughout the year rather than a long summer vacation. Because year-round schools split students among four schedules, with three groups in class and one on break at all times, the schools can accommodate 20 percent to 30 percent more students than traditional schools.
Parents at Sunday's meeting, which lasted more than two hours, said that such a move by the school system would complicate their lives by having children on different school calendars. It could also potentially split families, some opponents argued.
"We would potentially have three kids going (to school) at three different times and (be) limited to about 20 days a year together, in some cases," said parent Ben Brooks. "And we just don't feel it's fair."
Opponents argue there are alternatives to more year-round schools, such as temporarily maxing out mobile classrooms, filling up existing year-round schools and lifting the cap on charter schools.
"I think there's some other solutions before we exhaust where we're going at this point," said parent Lauren Beckman. "I'm just hoping that something will transpire that has the capability to stop the process."
Thirty schools were originally slated for year-round conversion, but school board members and district officials spent about a month narrowing the list to 19 elementary schools.
The school system is also looking to convert five middle schools to a year-round calendar. A vote on that could come as early as this week.