Local News

Year-Round Ruling Upsets Some Parents

Posted May 3, 2007 5:28 p.m. EDT
Updated May 3, 2007 6:57 p.m. EDT

— A court order blocking the conversion of 22 Wake County schools to a year-round calendar left scores of parents fuming Thursday, saying they had already rearranged their schedules to prepare for the shift.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning issued a 35-page decision Thursday in a lawsuit by a group of parents opposed to the year-round conversion plan. He said the school district must get parental consent before assigning students to year-round schools.

The WakeCares group of parents claimed the ruling was a victory for families, but many parents and students said they looked forward to switching to year-round schedules because it would mean less crowding in classrooms.

"We don't have enough room in our school. We've lost our art room. We've lost our music room. It's art on a cart. It's music on a cart. It's crazy, and I'm really angry about it," said Erin Simanskis, a parent at High Croft Drive Elementary School, which was slated to convert to a year-round school.

Simanskis and other parents said they were prepared for the change, but now are worried that they have no options. The deadline to apply to Wake County magnet schools has already passed, they said.

"We don't know what we're going to do. Our options are pretty much over. To us, (year-round) was the lesser of three evils," parent Natalie Garfield said.

Without year-round schools, district administrators have suggested moving to split shifts to accommodate skyrocketing enrollments. That would mean some students would go to class from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., while others attend school from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

"Am I going to have to leave my place of employment and pick up my son at 2:30 in the afternoon and take him to school? Then he's getting home at 8 o'clock at night. These parents who pushed to block year-round school might get something worse," parent Tracey Coleman said.

"If we have to go split shifts and we get we the late shift, what do we do about after-school hockey, horseback riding and soccer? All these extracurricular activities, they'll come to an end," Simanskis said.

Some parents said they are considering home-schooling their children, while others said they are thinking about applying to private schools.