Wake County High Schools Not Included In Year-Round Scheduling Plan
Posted December 7, 2005 9:40 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — In the next 10 years, the Wake County Public School System plans to have 72,000 more students cramming school hallways.
School leaders say the solution is more money -- about $4 billion to $5 billion to build and renovate schools. Converting dozens of elementary and middle schools to a year-round schedule is also part of the potential solution, but high schools are not included.
Four rotating schedules in year-round schools help maximize space and minimize the cost of building, but Wake County school officials say high schools are the exception.
High schools could cost about $3 million more a year, per school, to pay for teachers to offer all courses on four rotating schedules.
"It changes the whole dynamic of building a master schedule," said Jo Baker, the Associate Superintendent of Instruction for the Wake County Public School System.
So, when Wake County leaders talk about converting as many as 91 schools to year-round schedules, high schools are not on the list.
"I don't want to think about that," said Jody Gross a parent with three children -- one in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school.
She says she does not want a juggling act .
"It's hard enough that they're eight years apart for us to keep them close," Gross said. "But different schedules makes it darn near impossible."
And Gross feels she knows.
"We had eight children -- eight girls -- in our family. Three of us were on a (year-round) pilot program," she said. "My sisters were on a traditional schedule."
The only thing that comes close to a year-round high school right now in Wake County is Southeast Raleigh High School, which is a modified year-round school. That means all the students are on the same calendar, but they have breaks that align with year-round calendars.
If the Wake County school system moves forward with a plan to convert schools to year-round, parents think modified high schools will be in higher demand.
"I think that's one of the discussions the board has left to discuss," says Baker.
Gross hopes all the discussion will quickly turn to a decision so parents know what their options are.
School Board members need a decision on year-round schools to move forward with the amount of the next bond issue.
That goes before voters in November and could cost about #1 billion. It will likely require a property tax increase and only cover construction from 2007 to 2010.