'); } -->
Wake County parents have two more chances this week to share their opinions of the school boards proposed assignment plan for next year. The final hearing Wednesday at Rolesville Middle School likely will draw families who have been assigned to three new schools in northern Wake.
The new plan calls for moving 1,479 students to different schools for the 2013-14 school year, mostly to fill the new Rolesville High as well as Rolesville Middle and Richland Creek Elementary in Wake Forest, which opened this year under the choice plan. In prior years, as many as 10,000 or more students were reassigned.
About 50 people were at Sanderson High School Wednesday for the first of three public hearings on the proposed 2013-14 plan. Only one of the parents who spoke was concerned about being reassigned to a brand-new school.
Additional public hearings on the 2013-14 student assignment plan will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday at Davis Drive Middle School, 2101 Davis Drive, Cary, and Wednesday at Rolesville Middle School, 4700 Burlington Mills Road, Rolesville.
Go to wcpss.net/blog/2012/11/student-assignment-plan-proposal-for-2013-14 to view the plan, make comments or register to speak at those hearings.
Board members cross swords
Anger over Wake County’s latest student assignment plan boiled over Wednesday night at an unscheduled give-and-take session between school board members and parents who don’t like what’s in the proposal.
During one heated exchange after the hearing, Republican school board member Deborah Prickett started to ask the crowd whether they were satisfied with the controlled-choice plan that’s being phased out for next school year. Democratic school board member Susan Evans yanked the microphone from Prickett’s hand, saying the question was inappropriate.
On Thursday, Evans apologized for her action, saying it was inappropriate and disrespectful. But she added that it was taken to stop Prickett from disreagarding the rules of a public hearing. Board members don’t usually ask parents questions at student assignment hearings.
Dena Penna doesnt want her child to move from year-round Jones Dairy Elementary to traditional calendar Richland Creek. Her other kids attend year-round Heritage Middle.
Either my children will be on two calendars, or I will have no transportation to my public school, Penna said, adding that she doesnt like Richlands temporary modular campus. Jones Dairy is not at capacity.
Chris Laxton, who lives just outside Rolesville, would be assigned to the towns new middle and high schools. But under the plan, his child would attend elementary school 10 miles away in Zebulon. The proposed school is in the opposite direction of everything in our lives, he said.
Laxton was among many parents at the Wednesday hearing who arent technically being reassigned but are unhappy with returning to 2011 base schools.
Pam Maher lives near North Hills and wants her kids to attend Carroll Middle School down the street. But because theyre in the museums magnet program at Brooks Elementary, theyd be assigned to Moore Square Middle downtown, which is about to drop its museum program for another magnet theme.
Theres not a logical relationship anymore between Brooks Elementary and Moore Square, Maher said.
The largest contingent of speakers Wednesday complained about a recommendation to change the year-round schools some neighborhoods would apply to if they didnt want a traditional calendar base school.
Durant Trails options
Several speakers from the Durant Trails area in North Raleigh complained that their year-round school options would switch from Durant Road Elementary and Middle, which are adjacent to their neighborhood. For the Durant Trails families, reassignment was a frequently used term, although the district doesnt put the change in that category.
Reassigning our neighborhood to Rolesville Middle School and to Wakefield Elementary School, which is over 9 miles away, will tear our neighborhood apart even more, said Sue Reynolds, vice president of the Durant Trails Homeowners Association. This is not why I moved to Raleigh five years ago.
School board Vice Chairman Keith Sutton said after the hearing that he thought theyd be able to address the Durant Trails issue. As I explained to one parent, if we can fix it we will, he said. If we cant, well give an explanation why.
Some schools capped
At the same time that the year-round options are changing for Durant Trails, a similar action is taking place northwest of Wakefield and Wake Forest.
Some families there who have attended Heritage Middle School for their year-round option are now being told their new choice is Durant Road Middle. Part of the reason for that is Heritage is one of the proposed full-cap schools that wouldnt be taking non-base students.
Our kids would have to be driven to North Forest Pines (Elementary) and then with traffic down to Durant Middle 17 miles away, parent Kari Kristoffersen wrote in an email to school board members. What kind of choice is that?
Board members have called the new plan a stopgap measure before a more comprehensive plan is developed for the 2014-15 school year. We dont need a temporary plan followed by another plan. We need stability, Raleigh parent Lynn King said Wednesday.
But after the Sanderson hearing ended, parents wanted assurances that their concerns would be heard. Will you actually take our comments into consideration or is this just to let the people vent? asked Bennette Arnold, a parent and president of the Durant Trails Homeowners Association.
Board members assured parents they would heed their concerns before the final vote Dec. 11.