After months of debate and a false start that caused parents to fear countywide reassignment, the Wake County school board is expected to finalize an assignment plan for 2013-14 at its meeting Tuesday.
The process started in September when the first proposed assignments were posted online before the school board reviewed them. Some said the plan appeared to create “massive” reassignment, and board members quickly scrapped the plan. A second plan unveiled last month would reassign 1,479 students, with all other families returning to 2011 base schools.
The reassignments aim to fill the new Rolesville High as well as Rolesville Middle and Richland Creek Elementary, which opened this year under the choice plan. But many parents who spoke at the final public hearing Wednesday at Rolesville Middle don’t want their kids to switch.
Pamela Page of Wake Forest is supposed to send her children to Richland Creek Elementary, which opened this year on a temporary campus.
She wants her children to stay at year-round Jones Dairy Elementary. “There is no need to reassign students from an under-enrolled school to a temporary school on a traditional calendar.”
Jeff Ramsey lives in Northeast Raleigh’s Winchester subdivision, which has been reassigned to Rolesville High.
“Rolesville High School is over nine miles away, and Millbrook High is just over four miles away,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Concerns about caps
The proposed reassignment is small compared with others in recent years, but the three public hearings have drawn fire from parents outside the 1,479 reassignments.
Some were upset about changes to the schools they could apply to for an alternate calendar option. Others took issue with plans to “cap” enrollment at overcrowded schools, forcing families moving into their attendance zones to go elsewhere.
Jennifer Mansfield, who lives in North Raleigh’s Falls River neighborhood, said the overcrowding could be solved by moving magnet schools.
“When you’re capping all those schools inside the Beltline, do you need to be offering that many magnets?” Mansfield said, adding that underenrolled suburban schools such as Lynn Road Elementary could benefit from a magnet program. “You cannot keep holding students hostage in schools that are struggling.”
Changes in plan
Some concerns raised at earlier hearings were addressed during a school board meeting Tuesday.
Chris Laxton, who lives just outside Rolesville, said last week that he didn’t want his kids to attend Wakelon Elementary in Zebulon 10 miles away. The board agreed to send Laxton’s neighborhood to Rolesville Elementary.
“It’s about keeping communities together – I cannot thank you enough for doing that,” said Gretchen Britt, who also lives in the area, at the hearing Wednesday.
Several neighborhoods between Wake Forest and Rolesville, including Stonegate, St. Andrews and Whippoorwill Valley, got their wish to stay at Heritage High instead of moving to Rolesville High. But some parents on Wednesday asked the board to go further, assigning those neighborhoods to Heritage elementary and middle schools as well.
“We are some of the closest neighborhoods to these schools,” said Steven Hall, who lives in the Dansforth subdivision. “We struggle to see why Rolesville Elementary is our base given our proximity to Heritage.”
‘Asking for certainty’
The proposal likely to be adopted Tuesday is considered a “stopgap plan” for next year until the school board has time to develop a more comprehensive plan for 2014-15. Some of the parents at Wednesday’s hearing said they’re already worried about those changes.
“I’m pleading with you folks and asking you to use common sense,” said Ed Pulliam of Wake Forest. “What we are asking for is certainty.”