Southwest Wake News

March 5, 2014

Wake County school board approves enrollment caps for all Holly Springs elementary schools

Holly Springs has three elementary schools, and all of them have as many students as they can handle.

Holly Springs has three elementary schools, and all of them have as many students as they can handle.

The Wake County school board on Tuesday approved enrollment caps at 20 schools for the 2014-15 school year, including Holly Grove, Holly Ridge and Holly Springs elementary schools.

Apex and Holly Springs high schools will continue to have enrollment limits.

Under the caps, if any of those crowded schools hits an enrollment figure specific to each campus, the system will turn away students who later move into the attendance area. Students will be given up to two “overflow” schools to choose from for this fall.

The policy exempts families who already live in the school zone but don’t yet have children attending the school.

In Holly Springs, enrollment limits on all of the elementary schools have prompted concerns that some families might not move to town.

Brian Hourigan, a real-estate agent for Keller Williams Realty, said a client decided not to buy a house he was considering in southwestern Wake County because of the enrollment caps in Holly Springs.

“Ultimately, I told him he was going to have to wait and see how it all plays out,” Hourigan said.

LeeAnn Plumer, director of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, said she doesn’t think the school caps are necessarily “bad for business.”

But she said people need to be aware of the issue, and how space could open up at individual schools for new families.

“I think it will be more on a case-by-case basis,” she said.

Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said he has heard from a handful of Realtors who were worried about the enrollment limits. But he said he’s not too concerned.

A new elementary school in town is set to open in 2016, which should ease crowding. The school board recently voted to pay nearly $1.3 million for about 23 acres on the north side of Holly Springs New Hill Road east of the intersection with Green Oaks Parkway.

The opening of Apex Friendship High School in 2015 should also draw some Apex students who currently attend Holly Springs High, Sears said.

“We’re doing everything we can to make room for our people, our kids who come in,” he said.

Sears said he is willing to talk to any parents who face capped schools and help them work with the school board to find a solution.

The capped elementary schools in Holly Springs will assign new students to Herbert Akins and Lincoln Heights elementary schools in Fuquay-Varina.

In the meantime, Hourigan said it helps that Wake County schools have a good reputation. Some families, he said, are just happy to be in the school system.

“It’s going to be more important to some families than others,” he said.

Staff writer T. Keung Hui contributed to this report.

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