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Changes to Wake reassignment plan upset parents

The massive student shuffle in Wake County was up for discussion again Wednesday evening as school board members held a meeting at their central office.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The massive student shuffle in Wake County was up for discussion again Wednesday evening as school board members met.

For weeks, members have heard from parents upset over a reassignment plan that could affect more than 25,000 students over the next three years.

The proposal will fill 10 new schools. Under the initial proposal, 9,801 students would have been reassigned for the 2009-2010 school year; another 11,008 in 2010-2011; and 4,677 in 2011-2012.

Changes were made to the proposal after a series of public input meetings at which more than 1,000 parents showed up and more than 200 spoke on the matter. More than 1,400 people also submitted comments through the school system's Web site.

"We do listen ... (and) try to put everything in a balance,” board member Patti Head said.

Parents upset over recent changes lined up again to speak Wednesday evening during the session at the school system's central office, 3600 Wake Forest Road, in Raleigh.

Daphne Wright says her children have been reassigned from a school three miles from home.

"This move would break that down for our neighborhood and our children,” Wright said.

Eric and Mary Hartshorn's children were not included in the initial reassignments, but are now part of the shuffle.

"Another change was made, and we were directly impacted,” Mary Hartshorn said.

The couple says the proposal would split their family in two.

We would "eventually have two different children at two different high schools,” Mary Hartshorn said.

Now, board members must decide whether to make more changes, but those could affect more families.

"I do not know that everybody will be happy,” school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said.

"And that is really, really hard,” Head said.

School board members say concerns heard Wednesday evening are important. After the meeting, the board made another handful of changes to the plan.

There will be a public hearing Feb. 3 at noon. The same day, school board members are expected to finally vote on the plan.


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