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Wake County Parents Want End to Crowded Schools

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Schools in Wake County have been overcrowded for the past decade.
CARY — Some concerned parents in Wake County want to know why their children have been learning in overcrowded schools for most of the past decade. Tuesday morning, they finally got some answers.

There is a new school under construction in Wake County, Green Hope High School in Cary, which should be open for the 1999-2000 school year. Residents in the state's fastest growing town say they're not getting their fair share of new school construction. A presentation made to them Tuesday morning attempted to show it's actually a county-wide problem.

No one wants their children learning in overcrowded classrooms, but it's happening in Wake County, and the town of Cary is no exception. Cary has decided to take matters into its own hands, to some extent.

Tuesday morning, a top Wake County school administrator told Western Wake County residents that the school system is building new schools as fast as it can.

"It takes us 18 months to design and build an elementary school," said Ray Massey, associate superintendent of Wake County Schools. "It takes us 24 months to build a middle school and 36 months to build a high school.

By 2001, Wake County will have spent over $1 billion to construct 44 new schools over a 15 year span. The Strengthen Our Schools Network of Wake County says, however, that even more schools are needed.

"Within the next eight years, we need at least 44 more schools," says parent Dawn Hinkle. "We don't have that many on the books because we don't have the funding."

The Cary town council has created a position for a person who would lobby the county board of education and the county board of commissioners to build more schools in Cary.

Some parents at one Cary elementary school recently toyed with the idea of splitting the kindergarten classes into two half-day programs to ease overcrowding.


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