Wake County School Board discusses student assignment plan for 2015-2016

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The Wake County School Board met Tuesday and growth was on their minds.

We are barely into the new school year and Wake County school board members are already prepping for the next school year. This comes as some big changes could be coming as students face possible reassignments to different schools.

The goal of the plan addressed at Tuesday's school board meeting is to fill 17 new schools opening in waves over the next four years. Those schools are supposed to accommodate the projected growth of more than 18,000 students by 2018. Three new schools are sparking change for the 2015-2016 school year.

School Board Chairperson Christine Kushner says 22 babies are born every day in Wake County.

"That's a kindergarten class every day. We have to plan for that growth," said Kushner.

She said it is numbers like that that show the district has to keep up with growth while doing its best not to shuffle students around.
"We need those new schools and we need the community to know we are doing our due diligence in making sure the proposal is sound," said Kushner. "This plan is focused on enrolling students to manage growth."

Kushner and the rest of the board heard the first draft of a proposed student assignment plan and how it would impact existing schools. How many students this plan would impact though, planners say it's just too soon to tell.

"It's the first draft. It's a proposal, and we know when we first open a school we don't open it to capacity," said Deputy Supt. of School Performance for WCPSS Cathy Moore.

While that number is up in the air, the proposal does show which surrounding schools would be impacted. For example, one new school is Scotts Ridge Elementary in southwest Wake County. The early draft of the plan shows this school would impact Apex, Baucom, Olive Chapel and Turner Creek.

"We do look at it from a district level but we do realize the impact is at the family level," said Moore.

It's that impact and years of feedback from parents and the community she and board members say molded this new plan.

"I think a lot of parents are going to be very happy to see that their assignments have more calendar alignment," said Kushner.

They hope it shows they have been listening.

"There are always individual circumstances, but this plan really does reflect the collaboration of a number of departments within the system," said Moore.

Nothing is set in stone at this point. A final vote on this plan is not scheduled until December. In the meantime, district leaders say there will be several opportunities scheduled to hear from parents about any concerns.

Click here to look over the plan in its entirety.

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