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Wake Reassignment Proposal Befuddles One Family

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County school leaders are swamped with phone calls after hundreds of parents called Tuesday with questions about the school reassignment proposal.

One family -- The Johnsons in northwest Wake County -- has a story to tell about how the plan would affect their lives. This year, their children attend Wakefield High -- 10 1/2 miles away. Next year, they're scheduled to go to Millbrook, about 16 miles away.

The problem is that two high schools are closer, Leesville Road. and Wake Forest Rolesville.

This is dilemma shared by many families.

There are six kids in one neighborhood who are affected by the high school switch. Every year there are some changes to the proposal before it becomes a plan in the spring. This family is hoping that they have a convincing story.

Mary Johnson likes the fact that her neighborhood is out of the way.

"We are in the upper northwest corner of the county. We have a Wake Forest address, but really we're Wake County," says Johnson.

But out of the way is not what she'd choose for her son's school assignment.

"I envision the school bus coming to pick him up at 6 a.m. to get him there by 7:25 a.m.," Mary Johnson said.

Kyle Johnson expected to be a rising freshman at Wakefield High school, instead the reassignment proposal puts him at Millbrook, 16 miles away.

Johnson says she'd take any new assignment as long as it was as close as Wakefield.

"We plan on staying here a long time, I'm a little concerned where they're going to end up," said Gina Scott, a neighbor with younger children.

Other parents with younger children in the same neighborhood say the gamble on public schools is too much.

"We are in Quest charter school now and high school is a long way off, but we're hoping my son can get into that charter as well," said Scott, who is looking to other alternatives to avoid future uncertainty.

Parents have two weeks to give feedback.

The school system's Office of Growth Management may alter the proposal before taking it to the school board. The school board can also make changes before it's finalized.

Wake Schools received 500 e-mail comments and 800,000 Web site page views by midnight Monday night.

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