Parents decry student assignments

Staff WriterNovember 21, 2008 

  • Parents can go to www.wcpss.net/ assignment-proposal/ to see the reassignment plan and can comment online through Dec. 10.

    Four more public meetings will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m.:

    DEC. 1: Cary High

    DEC. 3: Wake Forest-Rolesville High

    DEC. 4: Holly Springs High

    DEC. 8: Broughton High

    After these hearings conclude, the board will receive a revised plan on Dec. 16. Hearings on that plan will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m.:

    JAN. 5: Apex High

    JAN. 8: Southeast Raleigh High

    JAN. 12: Millbrook High

    JAN. 14: Fuquay-Varina High

    JAN. 15: at East Wake High

— Eastern Wake parents demanded stability for their children and more resources for their schools as they weighed in Thursday on the new student reassignment proposal.

Schools in Eastern Wake are heavily affected by a proposal that would move 26,771 students to different schools over the next three years. About 150 people came to Knightdale High School on Thursday night to hear about the plan and to have their say.

"I don't know if all the resources have gone to Northern Wake," parent Nikki Burton said. "I really feel like Eastern Wake has suffered."

Burton's daughter faces reassignment from Knightdale Elementary to the new Lake Myra Elementary in Wendell.

Many of the moves in the first year of the plan revolve around largely emptying Knightdale Elementary. Most of the students and all the staff would go to Lake Myra, a year-round school.

Knightdale Elementary would then switch back to being a traditional-calendar school after having been converted to a year-round calendar in 2007.

Several parents questioned moving Knightdale's staff.

Chuck Dulaney, assistant superintendent for growth and planning, said that the teachers at Knightdale Elementary had come to like the year-round calendar so it made more sense to move them. He also said that Lake Myra was better able than Knightdale to operate on a year-round calendar.

Parents from the Planters Walk subdivision objected to being reassigned to Knightdale, away from neighbors who are staying at Lockhart Elementary.

"I'll do whatever I have to do to stay at Lockhart," said parent Antonio Valles.

A repeated theme during the meeting centered on the fact that Eastern Wake schools have higher-than-average percentages of students receiving subsidized lunches, which indicates the children are from low-income homes. All but one of the area schools exceed the school district's goal of having less than 40 percent of a school's students receiving subsidized lunches. Knightdale High has 38 percent of its students receiving subsidized lunches.

Robin Woodlief said Eastern Wake parents should be rewarded for having stayed at schools in the area instead of leaving for magnet schools in Raleigh.

Dulaney pointed out that school resources are limited to what is provided by the county's board of commissioners. He urged parents to get more involved in the county's budget process.

Without additional resources, Dulaney said they'd have to take money from other schools to raise support in Eastern Wake. That resonated with Woodlief.

"Eastern Wake has rolled over and taken what it's got for too long," Woodlief said.

Dulaney told the crowd they would review the comments and potentially make changes before presenting a revised plan to the school board on Dec. 16.

keung.hui@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4534

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