Wake Ed

Wake parents can request transfers, different school calendars

Students move between classes at Mills Park Elementary in Cary NC on Nov. 22, 2016. The early transfer period allows some students who’ve been reassigned to the new Hortons Creek Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year to get their request guaranteed to remain at Mills Park Elementary.
Students move between classes at Mills Park Elementary in Cary NC on Nov. 22, 2016. The early transfer period allows some students who’ve been reassigned to the new Hortons Creek Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year to get their request guaranteed to remain at Mills Park Elementary. cseward@newsobserver.com

Wake County parents have a week to request early transfers or to apply for a school that’s on a different calendar than the one their children are scheduled to attend this fall.

The early transfer and calendar option application periods opened Wednesday and end at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. It’s the only opportunity that some students have to grandfather at their current school if they were reassigned for the 2017-18 school year.

Five kinds of early transfer requests will be accepted:

▪ Request to be assigned to a school where a sibling is currently at and will continue to attend for the 2017-18 school year. This is for when the sibling’s school is different than the base school for the student requesting the transfer.

▪ Request to be assigned to your base school for the 2017-18 school year. Examples of students who’d be eligible are magnet application students and transfer students who have not been attending their base school.

▪ Request to remain at your current school due to a Board of Education-approved change in assignment. Students must meet grandfathering rules to apply, such as be a rising 4th, 5th or 8th-grader reassigned to a new school or any students reassigned to an existing school.

For instance, Cary Park students who are rising 4th or 5th graders will be grandfathered if they apply to stay at Mills Park Elementary instead of going to the new Hortons Creek Elementary School. The grandfathering rules are a reason the school board decided in a split 5-3 vote in December not to drop those children from the 2017-18 assignment plan.

▪ Request for a sibling to be assigned to a school where an older sibling is grandfathered as a result of a Board of Education-approved assignment change. This covers, for instance, a rising first-grade student who would normally have to go to Hortons Creek but can stay at Mills Park Elementary because an older sibling is grandfathering.

▪ Requests from school district employees for their children to attend the same school/campus where the parent is employed.

With the exception of students who are requesting a return to their base school and might be eligible for bus service, parents must provide their own transportation to and from school if their child’s transfer request is approved.

Early transfer requests are generally guaranteed to be approved. An exception could be if a student is applying to return to a base school that’s under an enrollment cap and doesn’t have any available seats.

Parents need to take advantage of the one-week period because it’s the only time sibling requests and grandfathering requests will be approved. Additionally, base assignment requests filed after the early transfer period won’t be approved “unless extraordinary/compelling circumstances exist.”

The calendar option period is for people to apply for a school that’s on a different calendar than their base school.

Last year, Wake placed 1,827 of the 2,285 applicants for year-round schools, or 80 percent. Wake also placed 1,246 of the 1,693 applicants for traditional-calendar schools, or 73.6 percent.

Click here to view the 2016-17 year-round application results. Click here to view the 2016-17 traditional-calendar application results.

School board members talked Tuesday about not providing a year-round option for every family assigned to a traditional-calendar school. But any changes wouldn’t go into effect for the 2017-18 school year.

However, if the school board approves the calendar changes proposed Tuesday at eight single-track year-round schools, school options will change in the future. This means a student who successfully applies for a year-round seat at Lockhart Elementary could be in a bind if the school switches to a traditional calendar in 2018.

In that scenario, the student could stay at Lockhart without transportation or accept a seat with transportation at Lake Myra Elementary, which would become the new year-round option.

Changes as well could be coming in 2018 to multi-track year-round school options depending on what recommendations are made by staff in March.

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