Reassignment hearing has SRO crowd

CorrespondentDecember 2, 2008 

  • Go to to see the plan. School officials will take comments online through Dec. 10. Additional hearings on the plan will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.:

    * WEDNESDAY at Wake Forest-Rolesville High, 420 W. Stadium Drive, Wake Forest.

    * THURSDAY at Holly Springs High, 5329 Cass Holt Road, Holly Springs.

    * MONDAY at Broughton High, 723 St. Mary's St., Raleigh.

There was standing room only in Cary High School's auditorium Monday night as hundreds cheered the changes being considered to the Wake County schools' three-year plan for reassigning students to fill 10 new schools.

Wake school officials are holding hearings across the county to gather comment on the proposed reassignment plan. A revised plan will be presented to the school board Dec. 16, and a final vote on the revised plan is expected in February.

"We received more than 2,000 [e-mail] comments prior to the Thanksgiving holiday," said Chuck Dulaney, the schools' assistant superintendent for growth and planning. He assured parents that his staff is listening to the pleas for changes.

Parents hoping to change the current proposal showed their solidarity Monday by wearing clothing with school logos or holding papers that questioned "WHY?"

Parents of Apex High School students slated to be reassigned to Cary High or Athens Drive High turned out in large numbers.

Rob Galvin, of Bishops Gate neighborhood, brought poster boards with colorful pie graphs to show broken peer continuity, which goes against one of the board's priorities. "Also, year-round reduces the peer pool," he said. "It makes it even more important to keep small groups of students in the same track together."

Tess Coleman, freshman class president at Apex High, made the case for staying at Apex by citing the difficulty of trying out again for sports teams and breaking into student government at a new school.

Several speakers asked staff to consider transportation costs and voiced concerns about their teenagers driving to a school farther from their homes during rush hour.

Paul Metivier, whose daughter attends Apex High, pointed to statistical evidence that traffic fatalities are the No. 1 killer of teenagers. "I have a daughter starting driver's ed this week, and these points really hit home with me," he said.

Mark Darby, a resident of Churchill Downs, who worked for SAS to create growth projections for the U.S. Air Force, cautioned that the sagging economy and deflated housing market could change the projected numbers of Wake County students, reducing the need for reassignment.

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