More than 2,700 Wake County students are now scheduled to change schools next year, and more shifts will come in the next few years as the state’s largest school district deals with the challenges caused by growth.
The Wake County school board unanimously approved Tuesday a plan that reassigns 2,734 current students for the 2015-16 school year. However, administrators say, more than half – 1,585 students – are eligible for “grandfathering,” or staying at their current schools if families provide transportation.
While student assignment staff members work to put the new plan into effect, they’re also developing plans for filling the 11 new schools that are scheduled to open in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years. Laura Evans, Wake’s senior director of student assignment, said they’re approaching the changes with a multi-year view to provide stability.
“We are behind the scenes reminding ourselves we don’t want to reassign children multiple times,” Evans said.
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Families can plug in their addresses at bit.ly/11QFuXw to see if they’re affected.
After a one-year hiatus when no students were moved, Wake is back on the annual cycle of new assignment plans. Officials of the 155,000-student system say some assignment changes are inevitable given net annual gains of 3,000 children.
In August, administrators unveiled the first draft of a plan that would have reassigned 3,101 current students. School officials said the final plan focuses on filling new schools and reducing crowding elsewhere.
After more than 2,700 online comments, administrators presented a third draft last month affecting 2,902 current students. The school board removed 168 Enloe High students from the plan, but made no other changes despite pleas from some parents.
School board member Susan Evans, whose district includes many of the students reassigned, unsuccessfully lobbied Tuesday to drop the reassignment of students from Baucom, Salem and Turner Creek elementary schools.
“I think we can do it with less impact on families,” she said.
But board member Bill Fletcher noted that the Haddon Hall community in Apex, which doesn’t want to be reassigned from Baucom, hadn’t been reassigned for many years.
“In western Wake County, it is amazing that there is a community that has not been assigned in 15 years at a particular grade level,” Fletcher said.