Local News

Wake Schools Reassignment Would Move 10,800

Posted December 8, 2006 10:32 a.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2006 7:21 p.m. EST

— The new reassignment proposal for Wake County Schools would move almost 10,800 elementary and middle school students to fill five new schools and additional seats in more than 20 schools being converted to year-round schedules.

Unlike last year, no high school students would be affected by the 2007-2008 reassignment proposal.

East Garner Elementary School, North Forest Pines Elementary School, Sanford Creek Elementary School, Wendell Middle School and East Cary Middle School will open next fall, and the draft plan call for shifting more than 2,800 students from their current schools to the new schools.

"The projections call for us to continue getting 8,000 to 9,000 students a year for the next four or five years. As long as we're bringing in that many students, we're going to have to fill new schools," Assistant Superintendent for Growth and Planning Chuck Dulaney said.

The school board last summer approved shifting 19 elementary schools and three middle schools from traditional to year-round schedules, opening up hundreds of seats to accommodate the school district's booming enrollment.

Under the draft proposal, 6,600 students would move to schools closer to their homes. Another 3,700 students -- primarily fifth- and eighth-graders -- could choose to remain at their current schools but would have to provide their own transportation.

Many of the students affected by the reassignment aren't even in the school system yet. They are part of the projected 136,000 students expected next year.

Parent Lynn Long is concerned the reassignment will move her older son from Turner Creek Elementary School. Close to 60 percent of the students at the school could be attending a new school next year under the proposal.

"I think anytime you reassign a child, you risk their succes, their future success, academically as well as emotionally," Long said.

School officials said reassignment is one way to control growth by moving students from more-crowded to less-crowded schools.

"The growth we're experiencing is affecting all areas of the county," Dulaney said. "This draft uses every bit of capacity we can. We can't afford to leave schools underutilized given the growth we continue to experience."

The numbers in the draft will likely change in the coming months, officials said. Last year, the final plan included 9,300 students, down from the 11,500 initially proposed.

The 128-page draft includes an explanation for how and why each school is affected. Residents can submit comments on the proposal by Jan. 2 to the district's Web site or by calling 919-501-7998.

District officials will use the public comments to revise the proposal before presenting it to the school board on Jan. 9. A final vote on reassignment could come by Feb. 6.