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Wake Co. Parents Weigh in on Student Reassignment

Wake County school leaders met with about 100 parents Monday to talk about upcoming student reassignment.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Fresh off a controversial decision to convert 22 schools to year-round schedules for the 2007-2008 academic year, the Wake County Public School System is gearing up for another controversial process: reassignment.

It could be a big year for annual student shift. Five new schools open next year, and the school system wants to relieve overcrowding in some of the fastest-growing areas.

Students who voluntarily attend year-round schools might have to go back to their neighborhood school if it is one of the schools that switches to year-round schedule.

Still, the total number of students affected could be less than last year's reassignment plan that moved 9,000 students.

At the first in a series of community meetings, Assistant Superintendent for Growth and Planning Chuck Dulaney explained this year's process and this year's problems. About 100 people attended the meeting, and parents got an opportunity to share their opinions.

"The growth we're experiencing is affecting all areas of the county," Dulaney said.

Parents, such as Cindy Sinkez, say they feel the school system does plenty to inform but not enough to factor parent feedback into their decisions.

"I really don't think that anything we say is going to make a difference," said Sinkez, whose oldest of her three children has been reassigned to a new school five times in six years.

She said she attends the meetings for the information and hopes her input will matter.

"I think it should be a little give-and-take, yes I do," she said.

Dulaney said that would happen, even though the reassignment proposal comes out Dec. 8.

"We were problem-solving last week, we were problem-solving today and we'll be problem-solving next week until the proposal comes out on Dec. 8," Dulaney said.

Two more meetings are scheduled for Nov. 27 at Knightdale High School and Nov. 30 at Middle Creek High School. Both meetings start at 7 p.m. and are expected to last about two hours.

A draft of the proposal will be available for review and public comment on the school district Web site beginning at 5 p.m., Dec. 8. Suggestions regarding the draft will be accepted via the Web site until 5 p.m. Jan. 2.

The school system expects to grow by 7,000 to 8,000 students again next year. An estimated 82 more new schools will be needed by 2025 if the trend stays the same.