Enrollment caps proposed for 15 crowded Wake County schools

New families who move into Wake County after next week could be restricted from attending 15 crowded schools for the 2016-17 school year.

Under enrollment caps proposed Wednesday, new families who move into the attendance areas for those 15 schools could be denied seats if specific enrollment totals are reached. In that situation, families who moved in after the cap went into effect would be offered seats at schools that are farther away, but have more space.

Enrollment caps are a means for the school system to try to shift the burden of dealing with growth, which brings around 2,000 new students a year, onto newcomers instead of existing families. But newcomers often complain when they can’t go to the school near their homes.

“It’s not an easy discussion to have, nor an easy decision to make,” school board member Bill Fletcher said at Wednesday’s facilities committee meeting. “It is probably the least disruptive to the least number of people to cap as opposed to make a wholesale assignment change.”

School facilities staff proposed placing new enrollment caps on Fuquay-Varina High School, Apex Middle School and Cedar Fork, Davis Drive, Fuquay-Varina and Wiley elementary schools. School leaders hope the Town of Morrisville will allow Cedar Fork Elementary to continue to house modular units or they warn that they might have to reassign hundreds of students to deal with the lost capacity.

Administrators also wants to continue this year’s caps at Enloe, Heritage and Panther Creek high schools; Mills Park Middle; and Hodge Road, Holly Grove, Hunter, Mills Park and Walnut Creek elementary schools. The cap would be discontinued after the end of this school year at Cary Elementary and Davis Drive Middle.

In November, staff had recommended capping 17 schools. But on Wednesday, the recommendations for capping Cary Elementary and Garner High School were dropped.

Planning staff members want the school board to approve the enrollment caps on Tuesday.

Laura Evans, senior director of student assignment, said next week’s vote will allow the elementary schools with new enrollment caps to let parents of rising kindergarteners know whether they can attend the assigned school for their address in 2016-2017.

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

Opening delayed for new Raleigh elementary school

Wake County school administrators said Wednesday they’ll need to delay the opening of the new Poole Road Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh by a year.

Poole Road Elementary has been scheduled to open in August 2017. But staff said that they need to delay the opening to August 2018 to address concerns raised by neighbors and the City of Raleigh about the new school’s traffic patterns.

The extra year will allow the district to acquire more land around the new school that would make traffic less of a safety hazard.

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