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Wake County School Board Changes Reassignment Plans

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County school board members voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow some 10th graders the right to turn down reassignment. And parents probably will not see year-round high schools anytime soon.
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    Facing a growing and increasingly organized community resistance to student reassignment, the Wake County School Board unanimously voted to give 10th graders slated to be reassigned to an existing school the choice to stay at their old school.

    "If you are an rising 10th grader who is at an existing school and you are being reassigned to an existing school, then you may use the grandfather clause to remain at the school you are currently in," said school board member Patti Head. "You will have the choice."

    But 10th graders being reassigned to a new school will still have to go.

    School officials also took major steps toward shooting down year-round high schools.

    "There aren't any models out there in the country for this right now," said Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney. "Nobody's doing it. Some people have done it in the past and have stopped doing it. They stopped doing it because the disadvantages outweighed the advantages."

    Facing a wave of thousands of new students every year, as well as declining support due to an unpopular reassignment plan, education leaders were willing to consider year-round high schools, and even split-session high schools. But the idea was losing support because it costs around $3.3 million per school to go on a year-round schedule.

    But officials said the reason for not having year-round high schools is not just about money.

    "We would be forced into a more lockstep session that says, 'Everyone takes Algebra I in this grade, and everyone takes geometry in this grade,' and there aren't the kinds of options available that we have now," said Dulaney.

    While new year-round high schools are all but officially off the table for now, the option of renovating existing schools to accommodate students is still under discussion.

    There has been talk about billion-dollar price tags for school construction and renovation. County leaders and school officials will meet Wednesday to get a better understanding of what the county can actually afford to spend on building new schools and just how far they can go in raising property taxes to pay for it all.


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    Paul LaGrone, Reporter
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