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Debate continues about revised Wake reassignment plan

A revised student-reassignment plan still has some Wake County parents upset about moves that could split families and siblings.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County Public School System unveiled a revised, student- reassignment proposal online Saturday morning.
The reassignment plan was posted on the school system's Web site at 10 a.m.

The online draft provides detailed maps of planned reassignments of 25,468 students over three years. Students can find which schools they might attend in the future by entering their address on the Web site.

Under the latest plan, about 9,800 students will be reassigned next year, another 11,008 the following year and 4,677 in the 2011-2012 school year. That's nearly 1,000 fewer than the original plan would have moved.

Ed Green, who is raising his three daughters in Cary's MacGregor Downs, was among the parents unhappy with the revised proposal.

“This neighborhood has been assigned to Apex High for at least 30 years,” Green said.

Instead of Apex, around 80 students may now go to Athens Drive High in Raleigh.

“Why they're going to take these two nodes (areas) out of the middle of Cary and Apex and send them inside the Beltline just doesn't make any sense,” Green said.

Green said there is also a chance that current Apex High students could be grandfathered in. So Katherine, who is a freshman, would stay. However, Melissa, an eighth-grader, would start her freshman year at Athens Drive.

“We can't have kids going to two different high schools. I mean, what football games would we go to on Friday night? It is just going to be crazy,” Green said.

“I certainly understand these folks' concerns. I do indeed,” school board member Eleanor Goettee said.

Goettee represents the affected neighborhood on the school board.

“We’ve got to use capacity where we have it,” she said.

Athens Drive is under-capacity, while Apex High is over-capacity, Goettee said. 

However, families say mobile classrooms are opening at Apex, creating more than 380 seats. They also say data shows enrollment will decline in their neighborhood by 6 percent, annually.

“We’re just trying to do everything we can to influence the school board to understand that this is a bad decision,” Green said.

Administrators said they revised the plan after hearing from the public at five meetings attended by 1,800 people and receiving more than 4,000 comments online.

School officials said the plan was developed primarily to account for projected growth and the opening of 10 new schools. The district also needs to make room for low-income students who are often bused to meet economic-diversity goals.

A new series of public meetings will be held on the revised plan:

  • Jan.5 at Apex High, 1501 Laura Duncan Road, Apex
  • Jan. 8 at Southeast Raleigh High, 2600 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh
  • Jan. 12 at Millbrook High, 2201 Spring Forest Road, Raleigh
  • Jan. 14 at Fuquay-Varina High, 201 Bengal Blvd., Fuquay-Varina
  • Jan. 15 at East Wake High, 5101 Rolesville Road, Wendell

All meetings will be held in the school's auditorium from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Those who wish to speak should register beforehand online or by calling 919-850-1600 on the day of the meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 6:25 p.m. at the site.

The Wake County Board of Education will finalize the reassignment plan by Feb. 3. Mailings will then be sent to the parents of affected students, who will know their final assignments by mid-May.


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