Wake School Board Votes On 4 New Year-Round Schools
Posted October 18, 2005 9:35 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Wake County Board of Education agreed to a a major proposal Tuesday evening to open four elementary schools in 2006 as year-round schools in an attempt to help temporarily ease overcrowding in the Wake County Public School System.
Under the proposal, two of the schools would be in brand new buildings; one would be in a temporary modular unit; and the fourth would open in extra space at the new Holly Springs High School. The latter two facilities would serve until new schools could be built.
The school system grew by about 16,000 students over the past three years and increased by about 6,400 students this school year. With even more students expected next year, school leaders said they could not wait to take action.
Wake County Board of Education Chairwoman Patti Head said the solution was "sort of like putting a Band-Aid" on the problem until a bond proposal is passed and a long-term plan is determined.
"This will keep us, hopefully, where we are in a crowded situation right now," she said.
Year-round schools, according to school leaders, would accommodate about 25 percent more students than traditional school calendars.
The school board also expects to bring about 100 more mobile classroom units into the school system, which would bring the total to more than 1,000 systemwide.
The cost of the temporary fix could be as much as $6.5 million, however, board members said they needed more definitive numbers. Some of the funding would come from additional money allocated to the school system by Wake County. Additional funding could also come from other planned school projects.
While the proposal could delay other projects, school board members said the schools are what they need to get by for the next two school years.
"I don't know what the bottom line is, but it's not going to be cheap," Head said.
Members of the school board also talked about a reassignment plan once two new high schools open in 2006. The plan would mean mandatory reassignment for ninth- and tenth-grade students because the board anticipates overcrowding to worsen at the high-school level in the next few years.
The school board also plans to continue with a series of community meetings to get feedback on the school system's future, including year-round schools and reassignment, next Monday at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School. (
View the schedule.
) Members hoped the idea would give them enough feedback from the public before implementing a long-term school growth plan beginning in 2007.