Letters to the Editor

More Wake schools letters

My first reaction as PTA president for a school slated to go year-round is "Now what?"

Personally, I have tried to recognize the difficulties that our Board of Education members have had to face and supported their efforts. I elected them and I will support them. I may not have been thrilled to have to change my entire outlook about vacations and time off but I tried to keep an open mind. "It could be fun," I told my family. "It will help the whole community,"I told our PTA membership.

With this court decision, we are not only back to square one, we are miles behind. By deciding that the school board is not sanctioned to enforce a mandatory school calendar, the court has ignored all efforts and progress for an ever-growing community. If the school board cannot make dramatic effective decisions then who can? Parents? Teachers? Politicians? or maybe the court is ready to come up with a solution. I think not.

The school board is the group that is responsible for our schools and managing growth. We as parents, PTA members, and/or residents need to give them the support that they require to be effective in their positions. But is it already too late for all that? Mimi Shankin, PTA President, Middle Creek Elementary School

Apex

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Turmoil in the Wake County public schools is directly related to the School Board’s attempt to serve too many masters. The school system can work just fine if the board will focus on core requirements of education, and ignore all the nice-to-haves. The voters spoke clearly in the last referendum — the $1 billion they granted for new schools was hard fought, and will not be extended any time soon. Therefore:

1. Adopt a year-round schedule at all Wake County schools. No playing favorites with this neighborhood or that one.

2. Eliminate all magnet schools. Fund all schools on a level playing field.

3. Assign all students to neighborhood schools. Support from parents and students will rise immediately, and the cost of busing will drop significantly. 4. Appeal Judge Howard Manning’s ridiculous ruling to regain control of the schools by the voters and elected officials. His ruling is contrary to the clear wishes of the voters.

5. Send all illegal immigrants back to their home countries, and ask them to take their kids with them.

I submit we will then have plenty of room in the schools for population growth, the number of trailers will decrease and the turmoil disappears.

Andy Withers

Raleigh

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For the record, we love year-round schools. We love the nine-weeks-on, three-weeks-off schedule, which allows us to take vacations in any season we wish. Our daughter has flourished in her year-round school. She is in kindergarten but reading and writing on a second-grade level. She loves the track-out camps offered by Raleigh Parks and Recreation and all the great activities they do, including swim lessons and museum trips.

And now the whiny parents who don’t want their kids in year-round schools because it cuts into their summer vacations (some of us have to work year-round) are not only going to keep their kids out, but they may very well have ruined it for those of us whose lives fit best with a year-round calendar.

What’s their solution to overcrowded schools? Fill them beyond maximum occupancy? Somehow that doesn’t seem like it will help the overcrowding problem.

Jennifer-Anne Conklin

Cary

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So Patrice Lee, of a group that dares to call itself Wake CARES, is “extremely sorrowful if this is going to cause problems for families with plans because we know what that is like to have to juggle.” Perhaps if Lee and her cohorts had spent their time constructively learning how to juggle their own personal schedules, tens of thousands of Wake County parents would not be in limbo less than eight weeks before many children begin the opening days of a year-round calendar.

It is fact that phenomenal growth in Wake County led the school board to adopt the latest year-round school and reassignment plan. “Sorrowful” is the latest ruling by Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. that could place many students in “trailer cities.” “Sorrowful” is that small children might be waiting for school buses at 5:30 in morning or coming home at 5:30 in the afternoon because administrators implement split shifts to ease overcrowding.

Thousands of thinking parents have accepted the year-round conversion plan and are teaching their own children to assimilate this change into their lives knowing that it is a positive one for the school district as a whole. Perhaps the members of Wake CARES would have better served the entire district by packing up and moving themselves to private schools, parochial schools or even other districts with schedules that suit them a little better. If you “care” so much about a schedule that is perfect for your personal life, why don’t you home school and set your own calendar?

While Wake CARES was appearing on television and hiring lawyers, we were “juggling” to make the year-round schedule work. And we will make it work — nicely — because we not only care about our own families and schedules, we care about the integrity of the Wake County schools and the education afforded each child, regardless of when his parents would like to go on vacation.

Carla Turchetti

Raleigh

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I’ve been reading some of the blogs about Judge Howard Manning’s ruling. Seriously — “He evidently understands the essence of family stability”? Give me a break.

If it is illegal to enforce a year-round schedule, then doesn’t just enforcing school of any schedule fall under that category? Couldn’t I claim they were not letting parents “dictate their kids’ education” if I didn’t want to have to be there early or like to attend in the fall? If year-round was unconstitutional, then required school of any schedule is unconstitutional. It’s a rearranged version of what we already have.

Now, we’ll have to resort to “split shifts” or over-crowding or who knows what. That’s more conclusive to “family stability”? Not to mention all of the planning that so many of us (and the schools) have done since this was under way.

Thanks Wake CARES for nothing.

Julie Thompson

Cary

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The focus now should be on the Board of Education members as they have caused this problem.

1. They illegally mandated year-round schools.

2. They did not take any time over the past two months to plan for this possibility.

3. Where are the 8,000 extra students they always talk about?

Wake CARES states that there is no increase in students where the BOE says there are 8,000. Who is right? I assume Wake CARES gets its data from public Wake County school data so what is this data? What are the true facts?

Please address school parents’ concern in the ability of the BOE to properly plan. If they have no plans in place to address the judge’s decision to not allow mandatory year-round schools, how can we be sure that they can plan for two to three years into the future?

As a newspaper please investigate these questions and advise what the true facts are. If properly informed, Wake parents can make informed decisions.

Bill Robinson

Cary

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I must be missing something when it comes to the hoopla over the year-round conversions of Wake County schools.

As a county, we approved a bond issue that was very clear in its intentions to use the money to convert 22 schools to year-round. Now a judge is saying that without parental approval, the school board cannot make these conversions. The majority did approve this just a few short months ago when the bond package was approved.

These parents who are fighting this are now holding all of the other parents hostage. Many parents are OK with year-round conversions. They have picked their tracks and in some cases have picked out and paid for their track-out programs for the next year. It seems to me the Wake CARES parents care only about not disrupting their precious plans and to heck if their lawsuit disrupts someone else’s carefully made plans.

What about all of the taxpayers who may not be parents? It is their money, too. Shouldn’t they have a say in how their money is spent? Oh, right, they did and no one cares. Sara Patrey

Rolesville

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How are you leaving working parents who have planned for the summer and now have to reorganize lives due to Wake CARES?Our schools will now be overcrowded, and this has caused major disruption in our lives. We were looking forward to moving to a year-round schedule, and when we applied for traditional schedule, we were actually accepted. There were other options out there.

This is going to cause added expense for child care and greatly disturbs our family!

Susan Jancuski

Holly Springs

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I am totally shocked that the judge ruled in favor of the parents to make the year-round schools illegal.

This group of parents should take a look at how they behaved. Is this to show our children that if you do not like something or it does not go the way you want, you sue people until you do? They talked about raising considerate young adults, but where is their consideration for the other parents who were for the year-round schools? These parents came up with ideas and reasons that had no proof, no study to back them up. Why are they so worried about their children going to school year round? Maybe the parents of North Carolina should get together and ban something — say the EOGs.

Christina Libman

Pittsboro

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How about all of us families who were happy about the year-round conversion and embraced it? We have one child going to middle school (year-round), and one in a converted one. So what do those folks suggest now that we’ll have to deal with a split schedule? The base middle school (traditional) for which we’re zoned is almost 10 miles away. Unacceptable.

I just love the whole platform that it’s not right because it disrupts family life. So, now that some schools will be forced to split schedules to early morning and afternoon/evening, that won’t disrupt family life?

I used to love living here. Now I’m seriously thinking about moving my family to a state where legislators and politicians don’t waste inordinate amounts of time trying to prevent growth and change (and maybe instead spend that time planning for it), arguing over the principle of an education lottery even though parents have to send in class supplies because the budgets are so inadequately small and where children aren’t allowed to be taught about birth control in high school because it advocates premarital sex (so teenage pregnancy is better?) Too conservative for me.

Angela Coulter

Apex

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A great victory for those intent on destroying the Wake County Public School System, thanks to a conservative judge who legislates from the bench.

Dan Davies

Raleigh

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Good Luck with this! The parents of WakeCARES have delayed the inevitable. That is all they have accomplished. Eventually the schools will go year-round and there will be nothing they can do about it.

Rather than choosing to look down the road to the future they have chosen overcrowding and trailer room teaching — good job! Though the immediate repercussion, thanks to WakeCARES, is that our children and families are being held in the lurch needlessly. How very shortsighted and selfish of them.

Don't celebrate yet!

Julie Allen

Fuquay-Varina

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I hope that the Wake CARES members are happy with their precious 10-week summer.

What are you planning to do to compensate the families who have made deposits on vacations, day care, track-out camps, all nonrefundable?

How about the violation of my right as a parent to attend church on Wednesday evenings because my child is going to class at some ludicrous time of day? Is Wake CARES going to tell my boys that they can no longer play on any sports team because they have to go to school in the afternoon and evenings? Have you considered how much more expensive day care just became to parents who will now have to cover a much longer day?

Are the repercussions of this lawsuit worth the upheaval and despair that you’ve now placed on us? Most of us were fine with it. So what if our time off was spread out a little?

Thanks for shoving your own selfish wishes down our throats just like you claimed the county did. The choices we are left with now are far worse. I suspect you will be feeling the effects of that in the very near future.

Krista Hurlbut

Willow Springs

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The justification for partial-year schools no longer exists because the predominantly agrarian society on which it was based no longer exists. Therefore, all schools in Wake County, K-12, should be converted to year-round use without further delay. However, those parents who prefer to send their children to school only part of the year should be allowed to do so with the following provision. To cover the added costs of facilities and provide a pay incentive for year-round teachers, parents who elect the partial-year option should be required to pay a 50 percent yearly surcharge on the school portion of their tax bill. This is a fair way to meet the overwhelming demand for schools in Wake County and limit the tax burden on those who benefit only indirectly from them.

Parents, and society in general, have long recognized the benefits of educating future generations. Everyone, parent and non-parent alike, makes a sacrifice for this universally recognized common good. Therefore, it is not too much to ask parents, for the all too brief period they have school-age children and who reap the direct benefit of good schools, to give on this issue. Taxpayers with no school-age children are willing to do their share. They just ask the parents to tolerate some inconvenience and do the same.

Ray Wilfinger

Cary

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Admittedly, my family and I are the reason for the current turmoil. Moving to Cary two years ago, we are the relocated Yankees people seem to talk about. I understand the concerns voiced by WakeCARES and other parents. At the same time, however, both sides need to face the reality of the situation.

There are 8,000 new students in Wake County each year. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away and will only make the ultimate solution more costly.

I can’t help feel a little irritated each morning to open The N&O and see yet another picture of a stern-faced, righteous parent protesting against the year-round schedule. With the recent court ruling in favor of WakeCARES, I would hope The N&O will finally get around to publishing a photo or two of the other side that also cares deeply — those CAR[E]ing parents who have just seen their CAREful plans for the very near future fall along the wayside.

Pete South

Cary

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