The Wake County school system is officially considering whether to change calendars at five schools, but some parents are asking why a sixth school isn’t on the table as well.
Some parents at Alston Ridge and Mills Park elementary schools, which could be converted to a multitrack year-round calendar for the 2015-16 school year, have urged school officials to instead consider changing the calendar at Highcroft Drive Elementary School. All three west Cary schools are fairly close to one another.
At last week’s school board work session, school administrators laid out why they’re not recommending converting Highcroft to multitrack year-round.
Joe Desormeaux, assistant superintendent for facilities, said there are two main issues with converting Highcroft.
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Desormeaux said the first issue is that Highcroft only has 38 permanent classrooms. That compares to 51 permanent spaces at newer schools such as Alston Ridge and Mills Park.
Desormeaux added that Highcroft will have 15 temporary classrooms.
But Desormeaux said that multitrack requires teachers to have the mobility to box up their stuff on carts and remove them from the classroom when they track out and to bring their materials back when they track in. Teachers share classrooms at multitrack schools.
Desormeaux said the transition for teachers is easier in permanent classrooms while it’s very difficult between temporary classrooms.
Desormeaux said Highcroft’s smaller core facilities, i.e. cafeteria, number of restrooms and library. wouldn’t benefit as much from a multitrack calendar as a bigger school.
The second issue, Desormeaux said, is that a new elementary school, E37, is scheduled to open in 2016. Located south of Morrisville Parkway and west of White Oak Church Road, Desormeaxu said the new school will most impact Highcroft‘s attendance area.
“For those two reasons, staff didn’t go any further with Highcroft as a possible option,” Desormeaux concluded.
School board members didn’t press him to do a further review. The board is expected to vote on Sept. 16 on what options to use to relieve overcrowding or deal with underenrollment at the five schools.
Highcroft and Alston Ridge had both been multitrack schools until 2011 when they were switched to a single-track year-round calendar.