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Parents Want Resolution to Wake Year-Round Fight

Many families have made plans based on their children's school calendar. But a judge's decision about the conversion of schools to year-round calendars throws schedules up in the air and frustrates those parents.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Adalberto Ribeiro’s plans for a family trip to Brazil are in jeopardy because of his children’s school schedules.

“Suddenly, you know, this whole thing is falling apart,” Ribeiro said.

Ribeiro’s not alone. Many Wake County families’ plans are based on the school system’s controversial decision to convert 22 existing schools to a mandatory year-round calendar.

But on Thursday, Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, deciding on a lawsuit by the parents’ group WakeCares, ruled it illegal for the Wake County Public School System to assign students to year-round schools without parental consent.

The school board, in an emergency meeting on Friday, decided to give those parents affected the option to accept the year-round assignment for the 2007-2008 school year or enroll their children in traditional-calendar schools without knowing which school in the county they would attend.

Ribeiro’s son Arthur will join his sibling, Vini, at Salem Middle School this fall. When their dad booked the Brazil trip last year, Salem was on a traditional calendar. When the school system slated the school for conversion, Ribeiro had to rebook the trip, losing several hundred dollars in the process.

Depending on what Ribeiro decides for his son, he might have to rebook again. Frustrated, he says money isn’t the issue. Stability is. He only wants the decision makers to make up their minds so he can make his plans and stick with them.

“They keep changing,” he said. “Every second month, it's a different story.”

WakeCares member Dawn Graf said Saturday that she shared those sentiments when the school board converted her child's school calendar.

“You know, I felt sad for those families, because that's exactly how I felt,” Graf said.

When asked if WakeCares is doing more harm than good, in the end, by fighting the year-round conversions, Graf said she doesn’t think so.

But she said she’s sorry for the frustration fellow parents feel. She said it was right to challenge the school board even as she hopes to work with the board on finding a solution.

“I think it's time to heal the wounds that at this point are just getting deeper,” she said.


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