Year-round school to be mandatory

RALEIGH The Wake County School Board says they will not send letters to parents asking for their year-round calendar consent. The 1,200 families, who were going to get the letters asking if they wanted year-round schools, are now simply getting assigned to the year-round calendar.

Board members say they will still allow families to apply for traditional schools and appeal the decision if their admission is not granted.

"What's extremely important for parents and the public to understand is we do have a process in place," Patti Head with the Wake School Board said.

"We're going to continue to make parents angry," Ron Margiotta with the Wake School Board said. "As we continue to do in the school system, the more choice we give parents, the more they respect what's going on."

Judge Paul Newby, one of three justices who opposed mandatory year-round school, calls it "another chapter in an ongoing saga in which more and more traditional decisions made by the family are handed over to the government."

But writing for the four-judge majority, Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson said for those who "disagree with mandatory assignment to year-round schools, their remedy lies with the electoral process."

Year-round opponents, who did not attend Tuesday's school board meeting, have promised to campaign hard to change the school board when four seats come up for vote in October.

"I think that's what's going to happen," Margiotta said. "This will certainly re-energize all of those parents who were opposed, not necessarily to year-round, but being pushed into a year-round calendar."

But the year-round debate is not likely to go away for years, as schools continue to over-crowd.

"As we all know with this economic situation, we will not be having another bond for several years, maybe 2012," Head said.

Students assigned to year-round can still apply for a transfer. School officials say generally half of those transfer requests are granted.

However, some parents are skeptical.

"It angers me that the board of education will continue to force these year-round assignments without regard to the needs of families to keep their family together," said Alison Backhuse, WSCA.

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