The Wake County school board waived district policy on Tuesday to say that students who attend two new application-only schools will not be able to play at other high schools that have interscholastic sports programs.
School board policy now allows students from five high schools and three middle schools that don’t have interscholastic sports to play on teams at other nearby schools. The board voted Tuesday to waive that policy so that it doesn’t cover students at Crossroads Flex High School in Cary and the new North Wake College and Career Academy in Wake Forest.
Crossroads Flex opened this school year and doesn’t offer interscholastic sports because it offers flexible school hours for students whose outside pursuits conflict with the standard high school schedule. The school has several athletes enrolled who instead of playing high school sports may be involved in activities such as figure skating and playing youth hockey.
North Wake College and Career Academy is scheduled to open in August. Students will be able to graduate with a diploma and job training in specialized areas such as culinary arts and early childhood education. Students were told when they applied that they would not be able to play interscholastic sports at other schools.
It’s not expected that students at either school will object to the policy being waived. But there will be a fight if the board implements a staff recommendation to remove interscholastic sports eligibility for students at the eight existing schools that don’t have teams. Any changes wouldn’t affect current students, but the possibility of it affecting future students has drawn opposition from families at those schools.
Wake has five early college high schools that partner with colleges or universities to provide students the chance to graduate with as much as two years of college credit. The early colleges don’t have athletics programs but are filled only by students who applied. The North Wake academy will be Wake’s sixth early college.
Wake has three small middle schools that don’t offer interscholastic sports. Some students apply to those schools, but others are assigned there.
For at least the past several years, students at the eight existing small schools have been allowed to try out for sports teams at nearby designated schools.
Some parents at Broughton High and at Daniels Middle schools have complained about taking in students from the other schools.
The policy committee had initially backed removing interscholastic sports for the eight schools on Dec. 13. But the proposal was referred back to the committee for further review after families from the early colleges spoke out against the proposal at a Dec. 20 school board meeting.
The policy committee discussed the issue on Jan. 24 and said more information is needed on the existing schools before a recommendation can be made. The committee recommended waiving policy for the two new schools.