Wake County school officials on Tuesday introduced the second draft of a student assignment plan that would make neighborhood-level changes throughout North Raleigh and Wake Forest in response to community feedback.
The changes mostly are small, such as making sure families on a particular street within a subdivision aren’t inadvertently excluded from the same assignment pattern as other nearby families or rearranging a school’s calendar options.
Those tweaks include bringing small sections of the River Run, Rosalyn Place, Maplewood Forest, Traditions and Deblyn Park subdivisions into alignment with the rest of their neighborhoods.
However, a small eastern section of River Run, which is off of Falls of Neuse Road north of Interstate 540, would be assigned to the new Abbotts Creek Elementary School rather than Brassfield Elementary School.
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Laura Evans, Wake’s senior director of student assignment, said it made more sense for school bus routes to keep that section of the neighborhood separate.
“Transportation weighed in on this and said that it was going to be very inefficient,” she said.
The second draft of the plan also would align the boundaries for Wakefield Middle and High schools through the Falls River area.
Another change would assign a portion of East Millbrook Middle’s attendance to Durant Road Middle. East Millbrook would be the calendar option for Durant, though, meaning those affected students would be able to stay at East Millbrook if they wanted.
As a fast-growing district of 155,000 students, Wake County historically has reassigned thousands of students each year.
But administrators said they were still unable to provide a figure on how many students could be moved in the newest version of the plan, or if the number of students affected was larger or smaller than the first draft.
Evans said school leaders hesitated to release numbers that could prove significantly off-base as the draft plan changes in the coming months.
Wake will begin a series of community meetings about the plan on Thursday, and families also can comment online. Along with the updated draft comes an updated online address look-up tool that families can use to find out precisely how they are affected.
Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent, said making sure families have many chances to weigh in on the plan is critical to the success of the process.
“I think that’s what parents want: the opportunity to express concerns,” she said.
In August, staff unveiled the first draft of the plan that they say focuses primarily on filling new schools, reducing crowding at existing schools and reducing the number of families with children on different calendars. The plan mostly affects Apex, North Raleigh and Wake Forest.
The proposal drew more than 4,000 responses on the district’s assignment website ranging from complaints to praises.
School officials plan to release a third draft in November, which will be followed by public hearings. The school board is expected to vote on the plan in December.