Education

Some changes made to new Wake assignment plan. See if your kids are still moving.

Carter Brady, a fifth-grade student at Mills Park Elementary School, urges the Wake County school board on Sept. 4, 2018 in Cary, N.C., not to move his neighborhood to different schools for the 2019-20 school year.
Carter Brady, a fifth-grade student at Mills Park Elementary School, urges the Wake County school board on Sept. 4, 2018 in Cary, N.C., not to move his neighborhood to different schools for the 2019-20 school year. khui@newsobserver.com

Some Wake County parents got the changes they wanted Tuesday to keep their children from being moved to different schools next year, but many others are still hoping to get their families dropped from the proposed assignment plan.

Wake County student assignment staff on Tuesday presented Draft 3 of the 2019-20 student enrollment plan that includes some changes that parents had proposed to prior versions, such as not moving students from Davis Drive Middle to East Cary Middle. But other parents were unsuccessful in getting their children dropped from the plan or in getting the traditional calendar schedule they want at new schools.

“We do the best we can to incorporate parent feedback,” Glenn Carrozza, senior director of student assignment, said in an interview after the school board meeting. “We appreciate the parent feedback. It helps us get a better understanding of what they want with regards to reassignment.

“But unfortunately when we look at all the feedback we can’t accommodate everyone’s request.”

Parents can learn about the plan and provide public comment at wcpss.net/enrollmentproposal. The board plans to hold a public hearing Nov. 7, with a vote Nov. 20.

Much of the plan involves filling four new schools: Green Level High and Alston Ridge Middle in Cary, Parkside Elementary in Morrisville and Southeast Raleigh Elementary. The plan also recommends opening Alston Ridge Middle and Parkside Elementary on a year-round calendar and converting East Cary Middle to a traditional calendar.

The outcry against the plan has been particularly vocal in western Wake, a fast-growing part of the county where many of the moves are slated to take place. Parents have objected to their children being sent to more distant schools.

Changes in Draft 3 include:

Dropping reassignment of students from Poe Elementary to Southeast Raleigh.

Offering both Powell Elementary and Pleasant Grove Elementary as traditional-calendar options for families who don’t want the year-round calendar at Parkside. Neighborhood bus service would be offered to Powell, while express busing, in which students would have to go to a central location to catch the bus, would be given for Pleasant Grove.

Don’t change the middle school assignment for Kingswood Elementary from Reedy Creek Middle to West Cary Middle.

Don’t move students from Martin Middle in Raleigh to Reedy Creek Middle.

Don’t move students from Davis Drive Middle to East Cary Middle.

Move students from Reedy Creek Middle to East Cary Middle instead of West Cary Middle.

Don’t move students from Highcroft and Weatherstone elementary schools to Green Hope Elementary;

Don’t move students from Sanderson High to Southeast Raleigh High;

Expand grandfathering to include rising 7th-graders who are reassigned to an existing middle school.

The number of students who could be moved in the plan was not immediately available.

School board members added a few changes Tuesday, including dropping the reassignment of Green Hope High students from the MacArthur Park neighborhood to Apex High.

Board members also said Tuesday they didn’t want to force calendar-application students to change schools next year just because the district plans to change the application school for their address. Board members told staff they want those students to be able to remain at their current school as transfer students next year if they provide their own transportation.

But some changes that parents wanted weren’t granted, such as opening Alston Ridge Middle and Parkside Elementary as traditional-calendar schools and keeping all of the Cameron Pond community at the Mills Park schools.

Some Morrisville families who are upset that Parkside will not open on a traditional calendar have threatened to vote against the $548 million school construction bond referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot. They’re upset that not only is Parkside slated to open on a year-round calendar but one of the options for remaining on a traditional calendar is to travel 23 miles to Powell Elementary in downtown Raleigh.

School board chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler unsuccessfully lobbied Tuesday to open Parkside on a traditional calendar. But she said that parents who still want to make changes to the assignment plan shouldn’t give up.

“The thing that I would say to parents is that this is always coming down to the wire because for me the balance is between what I think we should be doing personally and what we should be doing as a district,” Johnson-Hostler said in an interview.

T. Keung Hui: 919-829-4534, @nckhui
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