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Wake schools to release assignment plan Saturday

Wake County school officials will unveil a draft of the district's multiyear student-assignment plan on the Web Saturday morning. Keeping students together throughout their school years was a paramount concern shaping the plan, officials said.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County school officials will unveil a draft of the district's multiyear student-assignment plan on the school system's Web site Saturday morning.

The proposal is the first time district officials have tried to forecast student assignments for more than one year.

The draft will be posted at 9 a.m., and parents will be able to comment on it through the school's system Web site.

Officials said that keeping the same students together through elementary, middle and high school was of paramount concern when formulating the plan. They listened to parent feedback and wanted to reduce the year-to-year uncertainty for families, officials said.

"We do try not to split up neighbors," Chuck Delaney, assistant superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, said. "But it's not always possible, because if you're trying to use buildings efficiently, there may only be space in that building for 50 more students."

Other factors that went into the draft plan were maintaining schools' socioeconomic balance, the distance students would be bussed and aligning with the school board's magnet school policy. Planning for more than one year at a time was also more cost effective, officials said.

Those schools will accommodate new students in a system that has grown by an average of 4,000 students a year.

"If you're going to be a growing county, it's inevitable," Delaney said.

The draft assumes that 10 schools will be built and open as planned in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

However, the construction of those schools is contingent upon capital funding and enrollment growth. Some building projects might be delayed, because the county has not been unable to sell bonds in the midst of the nationwide credit crunch.

District staff met with teachers, principals and parents who would be impacted by the opening of schools, gathering feedback in developing the initial proposal.

Unlike last year's reassignment plan, which included only elementary school students, this proposal will affect students at the elementary, middle and high school levels, officials said.

WCPSS will take as many measures as possible to keep students from being moved, but reassignment is a reality that's here to stay, officials said.

"We're going to keep using short-term strategies like mobile and modular homes when we have to," Delaney said. "And we're going to have to keep recommending the reassignment of students in order to make schools efficient and comparable to each other."

Five community meetings will be held to gather comments on the proposal:

  • Nov. 20 – Knightdale High, 100 Bryan Chalk Lane in Knightdale
  • Dec. 1 – Cary High, 638 Walnut St. in Cary
  • Dec. 3 – Wake Forest-Rolesville High, 420 W. Stadium Drive in Wake Forest
  • Dec. 4 – Holly Springs High, 5329 Cass Holt Road in Holly Springs
  • Dec. 8 – Broughton High, 723 St. Mary's St. in Raleigh

Each meeting will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the school.


Beau Minnick, Reporter
Kelly Hinchcliffe, Web Editor
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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