The third draft of a Wake County student assignment plan for next school year addresses some – but not all – of the complaints levied by some parents in Apex and Holly Springs.
The Wake school system began crafting a student assignment plan for the 2015-16 school year in August and has solicited feedback from residents online and at community forums. District planners’ third and final proposal went before the school board Tuesday with more than 2,730 students –mostly in Apex, North Raleigh and Wake Forest – affected by the plan.
The school board is expected to consider minor changes before approving a plan Dec. 2. A public hearing is scheduled Nov. 18, and it will be discussed again at a Nov. 25 work session.
The plan strays from years past when the school district attempted to promote diverse enrollments through busing. District planners say the plan aims to send students to schools near where they live while also filling three new schools opening next fall – two of them in Apex.
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The third draft reverses some assignments from previous drafts. For example, district planners will keep Apex Elementary as the base school for five subdivisions – Shepherd’s Vineyard, Buckingham, Sterling at Buckingham, Brookfield and MacGregor West – instead of switching the base to Baucom Elementary.
Salem Elementary also will remain the base school for the Charleston Village subdivision, which previously was switched to Turner Creek Elementary.
But the third draft doesn’t reverse a decision to send students from three neighborhoods in Holly Springs to Apex Friendship High School, which opens next year on Laura Duncan Road.
Dozens of parents from the Arbor Creek, Bridgewater and Windcrest subdivisions told district planners at a public meeting last month that they want their children to go to Holly Springs High because it’s closer than Apex Friendship High.
District planners, however, said they need to make sure that Apex Friendship has a full sophomore class to help relieve crowding at surrounding high schools.
“It just wasn’t possible (to allow some students to stay at Holly Springs High,)” said Laura Evans, Wake’s senior director of student assignment.
Apex Friendship High is expected to pull 179 rising 10th-graders from Holly Springs High, 177 from Apex High and 77 from Panther Creek High, Evans said. Apex High and Holly Springs High have enrollment caps.
The third draft also doesn’t budge on a previous decision to change the base school for the Haddon Hall subdivision from traditional-calendar Baucom Elementary to year-round Salem Elementary.
District planners said they wanted to create “calendar unity” with year-round Salem Middle School, which Haddon Hall families already feed into.
The first draft of the plan would have required families to apply for a transfer to continue attending Baucom. The second draft allowed Haddon Hall families to enroll at Baucom as one of their two option schools.
More than a dozen residents showed up at a public meeting in Apex last month – one of several held around the county to collect input – wearing red, urging district planners to keep Baucom as their base school.
“We have attended forums, sent emails, put our opinions in the Mind Mixer, and worked diligently on the behalf of our children,” Jennifer Covington wrote to school board members in an email. “We do not feel heard or represented.”