Education

Wake County parents lobby for changes to assignment plan

Wake County parents will find out Tuesday whether their weeks of lobbying have led to changes in the school system’s 2016-17 draft student assignment proposal.

On Aug. 18, school assignment staffers released the first draft of a proposal that they said was focused mostly on filling five new schools opening next year. But families who have disagreed with the recommendations made more than 1,000 comments on the district’s online forum in hopes of getting revisions included the second draft that will be presented at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Some of the most contentious topics that have been raised include:

Pine Hollow Middle

Opening at 5660 Westgate Road in northwest Raleigh as a year-round school, Pine Hollow Middle School is slated to educate students who live in the attendance areas of nearby Brier Creek and Sycamore Creek elementary schools.

But many comments about Pine Hollow have come from families who complain that the proposal would still have them assigned to Durant Road Middle School on the other side of North Raleigh. They want the much closer Pine Hollow to be their year-round option or to be their assigned school.

Some of those comments have come from families attending Pleasant Union Elementary in North Raleigh and Sycamore Creek families who applied to get into the school.

“It doesn't make much sense to me to have to take one child to Sycamore Creek off of Leesville and turn around and take the other across town to Durant Road when a school is two miles away from Sycamore Creek,” parent Kristen Brown wrote on Wake’s forum.

Several Brier Creek parents have also asked Wake to not reassign them from Mills Park Middle School in Cary.

Pleasant Grove Elementary

Pleasant Grove Elementary School will open at 3605 Pleasant Grove Church Road in Cary on a traditional calendar.

Some of the most vocal complaints have come from families at Leesville Road Elementary School in northwest Raleigh who’d be moved to Pleasant Grove. School officials say they need to relieve crowding at Leesville, but parents say they don’t want to go to a school that’s farther away.

“We live less than a mile away from Leesville Elementary and my son just started Kindergarten,” parent Katie Peterson wrote on Wake’s forum. “I will be furious if he is switched to a school almost eight miles away and in another TOWN. It is absurd.”

Parents have complained that Pleasant Grove’s location near the county line and areas such as Umstead State Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport makes it hard to assign nearby students, resulting in picking areas such as Leesville. Matt Dees, a Wake schools spokesman, defended the school’s location.

“We also have to find land that is large enough for a school and a good buy for taxpayers, which isn't always exactly where we might like it to be,” Dees responded on the forum.

Rolesville High School

Rolesville High School isn’t a new school, but it’s drawn more assignment complaints than some of the new campuses.

The first draft has students who live in Wake Forest reassigned from Heritage High School to Rolesville High. Assignment staff picked areas to move that are now assigned to Rolesville Middle School.

“Heritage HS is overcrowded, has a cap on their enrollment, and has growth in their base attendance area,” Wake says on the forum. “Rolesville HS has available seats. It is logical for those currently based at Rolesville Middle School to be based at Rolesville High.”

But the parents complain that Rolesville High is farther away, isn’t as good academically as Heritage and isn’t part of their community in Wake Forest.

“We do not hear as much about what the plans are to bring up the schools that are not performing better,” wrote Heritage parent Cheryl Caulfield on Wake’s forum. “They DO need help but that should not be at the expense of my children. Our family should not be torn to bus some others in.”

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

Have your say

Wake County school officials will take comments on the first draft of the student assignment proposal until Tuesday. Go to http://bit.ly/1PxZ9PI to post your comments.

  Comments