Local News

Some Consent Forms Turned In; Most Choose Year-Round

Posted May 17, 2007 7:14 a.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2007 5:15 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County school board got an early sense of how many Wake County parents agreed to have their children attend year-round schools.

Chuck Dulaney, assistant superintendent of the Office of Growth and Planning, announced Thursday that two-thirds of schools in the district have reported receiving 80 percent of consent forms. Of the consent forms returned so far, officials said 90 percent of families have sent their consent to send their child to year-round schools.

Dulaney said the current pattern continues, then the school system will have to find traditional seats for somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 students.

The school board also learned that River Bend Elementary School has the highest percentage of families choosing the traditional calendar. School officials said finding room for those wanting to stay in the traditional track could take some work, but they believe it is doable.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled on May 3 that the school district must get parental consent before assigning students to year-round schools. The school system distributed letters to 30,500 families seeking permission.

Officials said the 22 schools slated for year-round conversion will likely not be under capacity as some angry parents had predicted.

"I think parents had little choice but to accept the year-round (track). They didn't have much choice because they didn't know where they might be going," said board member Ron Margiotta.

Other school board members said they are respectfully complying with the court ruling.

"This was a way that we felt that without compromising the educational program, we could accommodate those additional number of childrens we didn't have space for at school," school board member Susan Parry.

The consent forms are due back Friday. Parents who forget to submit the consent form will have their children automatically switched to a traditional calendar school. After the Friday deadline, the Office of Growth and Planning will start calling families they have not heard from to get an answer.

The school board hopes to have a firm count of traditional students and year-round students by next week. For parents who opted for the traditional calendar, the school system hopes to have those assignments by June 20.

The district is asking for $305 million from the county for the upcoming year, which marks a $29 million increase over the current funding level. The new figure could mean an increase in property taxes.