Northern Wake County parents pressed their case in person Thursday for more changes to the student assignment plan being developed for next school year.
Parents questioned how student assignment staff came up with the recommendations presented this week in the second draft of the proposal for the 2015-16 school year. Their pleas came after administrators said they had already made more than a dozen changes to the original plan in direct response to concerns raised by parents.
“Removing that stability and consistency from students doesn’t help them,” said Sue Matthew, a Wake Forest mother whose son is facing reassignment.
Matthew was among around 30 people who attended Thursday’s meeting at Wake Forest High, the first of four community meetings on the assignment proposal. A larger turnout is expected at the next meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Apex High School.
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As a fast-growing district of 155,000 students, Wake County historically has reassigned thousands of students each year.
In August, staff unveiled the first draft of the plan that they say focuses 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.
In the second draft, some neighborhoods that were inadvertently split apart in the first plan were reunited. Some reassignments were dropped or modified to allow students to stay at their current schools. Administrators expect more changes when a third draft is presented in November. The school board is expected to vote in December.
“We felt like what we had done was a good compromise,” said Laura Evans, Wake’s senior director of student assignment.
The biggest group Thursday was from the Bishop’s Grant community in Wake Forest, which faces reassignment from Jones Dairy Elementary to Richland Creek Elementary, from Heritage Middle to Wake Forest Middle and from Heritage High to Wake Forest High.
Evans said that Jones Dairy Elementary and Heritage Middle will now become the year-round school options for Bishop’s Grant so students already attending those two schools can stay with bus service next year. But parents of children who aren’t yet attending either school raised concerns.
“You’re going to have a handful of 5-year-olds going on a 45-minute bus ride to Richland Creek,” said Michelle Likovich, a Bishop’s Grant mother.