Wake Ed

Ballentine Elementary parents hoping calendar conversion not a done deal

Do parents at Ballentine Elementary School in Fuquay-Varina have a realistic chance of persuading the Wake County school board not to convert the school back to a traditional calendar?

As noted in today’s article, virtually all the feedback that Wake has received from Ballentine’s families has been to keep the school on the year-round calendar. Despite assurances from school officials that the decision to convert the school isn’t a done deal, some parents are concerned that their efforts aren’t being seriously considered.

A point of concern is how the school system’s Aug. 13 press release said that “no decisions were made at Tuesday’s (school board facilities) committee meeting, although committee members favored the calendar changes at Ballentine and Wakefield.”

“I would like to hope that since Wake County is going through the process of talking to schools that they’re listening to parents,” said Ballentine parent Beth Royall. “But when it’s reported that board members favored the change, I’m not so sure.”

Tim Simmons, a Wake schools’ spokesman, said that while the sentiment among board members at the meeting might have been to convert the schools, it doesn’t mean that’s what they will ultimately do. He said the message they’ve repeatedly stressed on the website and at the community forums is that no decision has been yet on how to address the underenrollment at Ballentine and Wakefield or the overcrowding at Alston Ridge and the Mills Park schools.

“From the very beginning of the discussion, they (the school board) realized they needed input from the parents before a decision was made,” Simmons said.

Simmons said that calendar conversion was simply one of the possible options on the table for all five schools.

“I would hope that they have not made up their minds yet, that they are taking parents input seriously,” said Ballentine parent Jill Arnold.