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Wake Schools Set To Shuffle Students With Proposed Reassignment

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County schools have released the largest reassignment proposal in school history that affects thousands of students.

The proposal, which can be found on the

Wake County schools' website

, affects 11,495 students.

Ryan and Kate Calnan are caught in a pattern of change. Next year, their daughter and 511 others near their neighborhood are slated to move from Creech Road Elementary to a nearby yearround school.

"The yearround calendar was our biggest fear because they would not coincide with her brother's vacations and everything else," Ryan Calnan said.

The moves are not a problem for some parents like Carolyn Mbengue who can end her 20-minute commute to Forestville Road Elementary.

"I like that it's year-round," she said.

More than 400 students are slated to move away from that school to ease overcrowding and fill new schools.

"After we get a big, thorough understanding, the next big job is to make sure we help our parents understand," said Dianne Pridgen, principal of Forestville Road Elementary School.

Under the new reassignment plan, Margaret Heidel said her daughter, Audrey, will be transferred to a different elementary school next year and most likely a different school the year after that. She said it is simply not worth the trouble.

"Our options now are going to private school, magnet school, or charter school. I don't want my child going on a bus for an extensive period of time or having to drive 45 minutes for a car pool," she said.

As part of the proposal, rising ninth- and 10th-graders for the 2006-2007 school year will have to accept their new assignment, which means some siblings may go to two different high schools. In addition, new high schools only open with ninth and 10th-grade, so there are no assignments for juniors and seniors.

"Yes, it's emotional, but life is not easy. You have to make the best of it," said parent Colleen Blackwelder.

The proposal will continue grandfathering on some levels. Of the 11,495 students in the proposal, 3,096 could exercise the grandfathering option of staying at their current school and providing their own transportation. If all parents exercised the grandfathering option, the current proposal would include 8,399 students.

Families can find out if they are affected by

searching by street address

on the school's Web site.

Officials say one of the biggest reasons for the major reassignment is because seven new schools are opening -- two high schools and five new year-round elementary schools. No new middle schools will open.

Two of the new elementary schools will open in temporary locations, one of which is the new Holly Springs High School.

Every high school in Wake County is affected by the reassignment proposal. Eleven middle schools and 62 elementary schools are also affected in the proposal.

There will be a two-week comment period in which the community can offer feedback. The Growth Management Office will then prepare a proposal to the board in February.

On Monday, officials with the customer service center took 500 to 600 calls, most about reassignment. Plus, officials said the Wake schools' Web site received more than 600,000 page hits Monday.

If you do not have Internet access, you can find out about the reassignment proposal by going to the schools themselves or call

(919) 501-7998


Comments can be made: Online, by email to studentassignment@wcpss.net By writing to the Office of Growth Management, Wake County Public School System, 3600 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27609, or By leaving a message on the Office of Growth Management hotline at




Megan Hughes


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