Cary talks of separate school district

February 4, 2008 6:12:08 PM PST
The Wake County School Board could finalize another reassignment plan for elementary school students Tuesday.

Some leaders in Cary say it would also be a good time to look at breaking up the school district.

Moving 6,000 students to different schools is bound to anger hundreds of parents, but this time it has some in Cary saying enough is enough and it is time to break away from Wake County schools.

Michelle Gaddy likes to wear her Weatherstone Elementary T-shirt to show support for her 7-year-old's school. Weatherstone is just one mile from their home, but she learned last month her son will soon not go there next fall.

"I was heartbroken," Gaddy said. "I've walked into that school every day for the past two years."

Parents across Cary are still angry about this year's school reassignment plan. The plan moves many Cary students because two of Wake's three new elementary schools will open next fall in Cary.

However, Gaddy's neighborhood is now assigned to Briar Cliff Elementary, an older campus two miles away.

The reassignment will be her neighborhood's sixth in 15 years.

"They were at Cary Elementary. Then they were moved to Weatherstone. Then they were moved back to Cary Elementary. Then they were moved back to Weatherston," Gaddy said.

School officials say 80 percent of reassignments are for capacity reasons, but it is the 20 percent moved for diversity reasons which anger some.

"We have a fundamental problem when Cary families or western Wake families are having to give up their school seat so somebody from 45 minutes away can sit in it." Cary town councilmember, Don Frantz said.

And now, some leaders, like Frantz want Cary out of Wake schools.

"I think you are starting to see a movement toward forming our own school system," he said.

Gaddy just wants her son back at his old school, but Cary parents are starting to question who calls the shots on schools in Cary.

"None of these towns have any say. We're pretty much at the Board of Commissioners and school board's mercy." Gaddy said.

Cary's representative on the school board does not support a separate school district.

Eleanor Goettee says the state legislature would not likely allow it, but she hopes the school system can stop the annual reassignment drill and reassign students not more than once every three years.


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