Local News

Opt-Outs Leave Some Year-Round Schools Scrambling

Posted July 8, 2007 7:33 p.m. EDT

— Year-round schools in Wake County will open their doors Monday morning, but at least one school is scrambling to make last-minute changes after posting low enrollment numbers.

East Garner Elementary is one of the new year-round schools in Wake County, and it’s already experiencing a few problems. The school had one of the highest number of parents opt their kids out of the year-round system.

Principal James Overman said he has seen close to 140 students opt out of the school since a lawsuit filed by a group called WakeCares gave parents the choice to remove their kids from mandatory year-round assignments.

“This year has been a little more difficult just because, from day to day, your numbers are changing, and you’re not real sure as to what you have,” Overman said. “It does make it a little more difficult, because it makes it harder to predict how many teachers you’ll need for each grade level.”

Teachers are allocated based on the number of students at each school. One of East Garner’s third grade calendars, known as Track 3, was canceled, and nearly a dozen students were re-assigned to a different schedule at the last minute.

Parents like Lawrence Chavis are in the affected group. He sees the situation as a fallout from the WakeCares lawsuit, he said.

“The board of education was trying to deal with a situation as best as they possibly could because of overcrowding. Then, parents get in and start suing, and it puts everything up in the air,” Chavis said.

East Garner is not alone in dealing with opt-outs. It's estimated that nearly half of Wake County's year-round schools are dealing with the issue.