Wake parents unhappy with plans to fill new schools

Proposed 2013-14 assignment plan would relocate 1,479 students

ccampbell@newsobserver.comDecember 5, 2012 

— Some northern Wake County parents aren’t happy about moving their children to fill three new schools.

At the final public hearing Wednesday on next year’s assignment plan, parents of some students reassigned to new schools in Rolesville and Wake Forest said they want to keep their current schools.

Pamela Page of Wake Forest would send her children to Richland Creek Elementary, which opened this year on a temporary campus.

“This is a modular campus consisting solely of trailers,” Page said. She wants her children to stay at year-round Jones Dairy Elementary. “There is no need to reassign students from an under-enrolled school to a temporary school on a traditional calendar.”

The proposed assignment plan for the 2013-14 school year would reassign 1,479 students, with all other families returning to 2011 base schools. The reassignments are mostly intended to fill the new Rolesville High as well as Rolesville Middle and Richland Creek Elementary, which opened this year under the choice plan.

Jeff Ramsey lives in Northeast Raleigh’s Winchester subdivision, which has been reassigned to Rolesville High.

“Rolesville High School is over nine miles away and Millbrook High is just over four miles away,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me. Millbrook isn’t even one of our magnet choices.”

The proposed reassignment is small compared to others in recent years, but the three public hearings have drawn fire from parents outside the 1,479 reassignments.

Some were upset about changes to the schools they could apply to for an alternate calendar option. Others were upset by feeder patterns that have different calendars for elementary and middle school.

“It is illogical that we should have a year-round elementary school and a traditional calendar middle school as our base,” said Kari Kristoffersen, who wants to keep her kids in year-round schools after they leave North Forest Pines Elementary. “I will not be satisfied until it’s confirmed that our child will be at Heritage (Elementary) next year.”

Some concerns raised at earlier hearings were addressed during a school board meeting Tuesday.

Chris Laxton, who lives just outside Rolesville, said last week that he didn’t want his kids to attend Wakelon Elementary in Zebulon 10 miles away. The board agreed Wednesday to send Laxton’s neighborhood to Rolesville Elementary.

“It’s about keeping communities together – I cannot thank you enough for doing that,” said Gretchen Britt, who also lives in the area.

Several neighborhoods between Wake Forest and Rolesville, including Stonegate, St. Andrews and Whippoorwill Valley, got their wish to stay at Heritage High instead of moving to Rolesville High. But some parents there on Wednesday asked the board to go further, assigning those neighborhoods to Heritage elementary and middle schools as well.

“Our kids are currently at Heritage Middle School and would like to stay there,” said Mike Valchar.

‘Asking for certainty’

The board is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday. The assignments are considered a “stopgap plan” for next year until the school board has time to develop a more comprehensive plan for 2014-15. Some of the parents at Wednesday’s hearing said they’re already worried about what those changes might bring.

“I’m pleading with you folks and asking you to use common sense,” said Ed Pulliam of Wake Forest. “What we are asking for is certainty.”

Campbell: 919-829-4802

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