Wake taking steps to end mandatory year-round

RALEIGH The board made a change to the resolution, which now says, in part, that "every effort will be made to eliminate mandatory year-round assignments ..."

The move comes after the board approved the resolution at a January 5 meeting after board member Deborah Prickett added it to the agenda. But legal advisors told the board it was a policy decision that requires two votes.

Critics say it's the first step in ending Wake's diversity policy, which they fear will lead to segregated schools. Supporters are glad parents are being given more choices.

Currently, more than 50 schools in Wake County operate on a year-round calendar. While some parents choose to send their children to year-round schools, others are assigned and the current school board majority doesn't believe those families should be forced into a calendar they don't want.

The entire board has agreed to survey all parents in the county to see where year-round may be preferred. Letters were sent home to parents telling them to complete the surveys by January 25 at 12 p.m.

Click here for a link to the survey.

On Tuesday, the district said it had gotten nearly 22 thousand surveys back - or about 15 percent of the district.

Wake county school staff will also be able to weigh in on whether their school should continue operating on its current calendar. The goal is to find out where year-round schools are preferred and where they are not in an effort to provide parents a choice.

At Tuesday's board meeting, some members were surprised to learn that more students were denied access to a year-round school than those who wanted out of year-round.

According to the head of Growth and Planning, 884 students applied to a year-round school for the 2009-10 school year and did not get in. On the flip side, 115 students who were assigned to a year-round school and applied to a traditional school did not get in.

"We could end up needing to convert or open more year-round schools," Vice Chair Debra Goldman said. "We need to make sure any changes to our policy would work both ways."

School board member and former principal Carolyn Morrison said she'd like to wait a year before any changes are made.

The board instructed staff to recommend possible calendar changes by March 2 following a series of public hearings:

  • 2/9 Holly Springs HS
  • 2/18 Heritage HS
  • 2/23 Leesville Rd HS
  • 2/25 Panther Creek HS

All meetings will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, tighter security surrounds the Wake County school board meetings as they vote on controversial issues.

Some school board members say they've been verbally accosted. Codes of conduct are posted at the entrance of public meetings too.

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