Wake Ed

Wake County school board approves student assignment plan

Students crowd a stairway as classes change at Heritage High School in Wake Forest NC on Sept. 10, 2015. Wake County staff initially proposed moving Heritage students to Rolesville High to ease crowding. It was dropped after parents objected.
Students crowd a stairway as classes change at Heritage High School in Wake Forest NC on Sept. 10, 2015. Wake County staff initially proposed moving Heritage students to Rolesville High to ease crowding. It was dropped after parents objected. cseward@newsobserver.com

The Wake County school board gave final approval Tuesday to a plan that moves less than 3,300 students to different schools next year.

School officials say the majority of the students on the move for the 2016-17 school year would go to the five new schools: Pine Hollow Middle and Beaverdam, Oakview, Pleasant Grove and White Oak elementary schools. Students are also being moved for reasons such as putting family members on the same calendar and avoiding schools that are too full or too empty.

“What we have not been able to do is make everyone happy,” school board member Bill Fletcher said. “What we are doing is be good stewards of the resources that the county has entrusted to us.”

The plan comes over the objections of some families who’ve been lobbying for changes since the first draft was presented in August.

Some families in the Brier Creek area didn’t want to be reassigned to Pine Hollow Middle, saying they wanted to stay at a traditional-calendar middle school. Assignment staff says there will be enough seats at Leesville Road Middle School next year to accommodate Brier Creek families who want to apply to attend a traditional-calendar school.

Some Leesville Road Elementary families have complained about being moved to the new Pleasant Grove Elementary in Cary near the Durham border. School. Assignment staff says those students need to go to relieve crowding at Leesville and to help fill Pleasant Grove.

But over the past three months, multiple changes have been made first by staff and most recently by the school board. Moves that were proposed and later dropped include:

▪ Moving students from Heritage High to Rolesville High;

▪ Moving students from Wakefield and West Millbrook middle schools to Pine Hollow Middle;

▪ Moving seven neighborhoods from Leesville Elementary to Pleasant Grove Elementary.

School board members recognized the complaints about the plan before the vote, saying they tried to make changes when they could. Click here to see which addresses are affected.

“We wish we didn’t have to make changes,” said school board member Susan Evans. “We’ve tried to keep those changes to a minimum. But we are a growing dynamic county that’s adding students each year.”

School board member Christine Kushner also noted that the students being moved is 2 percent of the district’s enrollment.

Now that the plan has been approved, Wake will send preliminary notices to families listing their 2016-17 school assignments. The majority of students being moved are eligible for grandfathering, meaning they can stay at their current school if they provide their own transportation next year.

Families who aren’t eligible for grandfathering can consider other options for changing their school assignment such as applying for magnet schools and seeking a transfer. But the school board is expected to approve changes that would cut back on the number of discretionary transfers that are approved.

  Comments