Wake Ed

Enrollment caps approved for 10 Wake County schools in 2017

Students exit their modular classroom unit as they head to physical education class at Cedar Fork Elementary School on Feb. 11, 2016 in Morrisville, N.C. Cedar Fork is among 10 Wake County schools that will remain under an enrollment cap for the 2017-18 school year.
Students exit their modular classroom unit as they head to physical education class at Cedar Fork Elementary School on Feb. 11, 2016 in Morrisville, N.C. Cedar Fork is among 10 Wake County schools that will remain under an enrollment cap for the 2017-18 school year. jhknight@newsobserver.com

The Wake County school board approved enrollment restrictions for 10 schools for the 2017-18 school year but did not renew Tuesday enrollment caps at five elementary schools.

The board approved leaving in place enrollment caps at Cedar Fork Elementary in Morrisville; Fuquay-Varina elementary and high schools; Holly Grove Elementary in Holly Springs; Panther Creek High and Mills Park elementary and middle schools in Cary; Apex Middle; Enloe High in Raleigh and Heritage High in Wake Forest.

Enrollment caps will not be continued after the end of the 2016-17 school year at Davis Drive Elementary in Cary, Hodge Road Elementary in Knightdale and Hunter, Walnut Creek and Wiley elementary schools in Raleigh.

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.

New families who move into the attendance area of a capped school could be denied seats if a specific enrollment total is reached. In that situation, families who move in after the cap went into effect are offered seats at schools that are farther away but have more space.

School officials say 944 students are currently capped out of those 10 schools. The largest group affected consists of 417 students who are capped out of Panther Creek High.

When seats open up, students who are capped out are given the option to stay at their overflow school or go to the capped schools.

Caps are often lifted after new schools open in an area to provide enough additional seats. For instance, Rogers Lane Elementary will open in Raleigh next year, so staff say a cap is no longer needed for Hodge Road and Walnut Creek elementary schools.

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