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Parents' Group Not Giving in on Year-Round School Debate

WakeCares says it is hearing that groups are organizing to encourage parents not to consent to voluntary year-round enrollment.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — WakeCares, the parents' group that sued to block the conversion of Wake County public schools to a mandatory year-round schedule, says it is hearing that groups are organizing to encourage parents not to consent to year-round enrollment.

Patrice Lee, with the group, said that if it happens that way, the Wake County Public School System may not be able to fill 22 schools that are slated to go year-round for the 2007-2008 school year.

The moves comes the same day Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning told attorneys for both sides during a conference call that the district is complying with his order to make year-round schools voluntary.

Last Thursday, Manning ruled that the school system's decision to convert 22 existing schools to mandatory year-round schedules was illegal and that parents must give their consent before the school system can assign students to year-round schools.

That ruling affects more than 30,000 students who would have attended any type of year-round school next year.

In an emergency meeting Friday, the school board decided to move ahead with the conversions and to give parents a choice. If parents choose traditional-calendar schools, however, there is no guarantee where their children would be assigned.

Board members decided to mail permission letters to parents this Friday. Officials said they hope to get responses by May 18 so that they can begin making assignments. Assignments are not expected to be mailed out until late June, however.

WakeCares said the school board found a loophole in Manning's ruling and that the district should delay the conversions until it knows how many parents opt for year-round schools. They also think parents should know what traditional-calendar assignment they might get before making a decision.



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