WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) --The Wake County Public School System is opening five new schools this year to accommodate its additional 2,000 students.
"It's been very exciting. It's a principal's dream, I think, to open a new school," said Andrew Livengood, Principal at Pine Hollow Middle School - the district's first new school to open in 2016. The year-round school features state-of-the-art technology.
When you have new schools, you need new teachers. For Wake County, that means 729 of them.
First year teacher Katie Sayles is one of those new hires. She teaches Kindergarten at Sycamore Creek Elementary School in Raleigh.
"It's been absolutely wonderful," Sayles said.
However, with the growth comes some challenges. Even with five new schools, the district had to slash $17.5 million from its budget.
"We've gotten to a point in Wake County where any cuts that come down the pipe now we really don't have any choice but to impact the classroom to a certain degree because we've trimmed all the fat that there was to trim," Livengood said.
That impacts teachers like Sayles, forcing her to rely on parents to donate school supplies.
"Being a new teacher, I come in not having as much and so making sure I have enough to fill my classroom. Building my classroom library and things like that," Sayles said.
The district is on pace to add as many as 17,500 children by 2020. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Doug Thilman said the district is prepared.
"We've seen steady growth in our school district for a number of years and we're prepared for that and we can handle that and with the support of our local board of education, and the county commissioners and our building program we can meet the needs or at least try as best as we can to meet the needs for incoming students," Thilman said. "So we'll continue to work on that. But then more importantly, the work that our principals do to induct the new teachers into their building to make sure they're prepared and have the resources they need."
"Teachers by their very nature figure out what has to be done so teaching continues," Livengood said.
That is what Sayles is doing and her students are taking notice.
"She's an amazing teacher and she teaches us all this fun stuff," said 5-year-old Abigail Haight.
Those we talked to say parents can help by reading to their children and being involved in their education.
The new schools include:
- Beaverdam Elementary, 2591 Tarheel Club Road, Raleigh
- Oakview Elementary School, 11500 Holly Springs New Hill Road, Apex
- White Oak Elementary, 1512 White Oak Church Road, Apex
- Pine Hollow Middle School, 5365 Bartram Place, Raleigh
- Pleasant Grove Elementary, 3605 Pleasant Grove Church Road, Morrisville
Poll: What was your favorite part about going back to school?— ABC11 EyewitnessNews (@ABC11_WTVD) August 23, 2016