Wake Ed

March 12, 2014

Wake County school board to discuss renovations, year-round schools and campus safety

A Wake County school board committee will discuss renovations at Green Elementary School, the impact year-round schools have on facilities and security upgrades to campuses.

UPDATE: Click here to view the online article from the meeting.

The renovations at Green Elementary School, balancing tracks at year-round schools and the status of school security upgrades are among the items the Wake County school board’s facilities committee will discuss Wednesday.

Click here to view a handout that includes renderings of what Green could look like if the district goes along with that particular schematic design. Green, located near the North Hills area of Raleigh, will be rebuilt for $23.8 million.

Next you’ll see printouts showing how many tracks each year-round school has in Wake.

The district is trying to correct imbalances in tracks where a year-round middle school has too many track 4 students coming from elementary school but not enough on the other three tracks.

Back when year-round schools were only filled by application, there wasn’t a problem getting all four tracks filled out. But when Wake sharply expanded the number of year-round schools and made them base schools, principals were flooded with requests from families who only wanted track 4.

To try to keep families from opting out for traditional-calendar schools, principals wound up overloading track 4 at many schools.

But the overloading of track 4 is reducing the efficiency of those schools. In theory, a properly filled year-round school could increase its capacity by 20 or 30 percent.

To avoid forcing rising sixth-grade students to change tracks, Wake is trying over time to make sure elementary schools don’t all double load track 4.

Also on the agenda, staff will discuss the $7.1 million in security upgrades that will be added to schools following the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Wake is using bond money to pay for the upgrades.

Upgrades include more surveillance cameras, electronic badge entry systems for schools and a new buzzer and visitor management system at all elementary schools. The front doors for elementary schools will be locked, requiring visitors to show their face to a camera and then be buzzed inside.

Sandy Hook had many of those same security features that a gunman shot through on his way to killing 26 people, including 20 children.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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