Tata talks school schedules, ninth grade centers

February 10, 2012 1:47:48 PM PST
When Wake County superintendent Tony Tata made his weekly press briefing Friday morning, much of the conversation centered around the school system's decision to change start and dismissal times.

Parents have not held back their feelings about the new proposed school schedules. Since the news was announced, more than 1,000 of those concerned parents took to the Wake County School Board website to leave their thoughts on the idea.

Although the 10-50 minutes will be minimal for the most part, Tata encouraged parents to continue sharing feedback on the website.

Tata said that the bottom line in changing when schools start and end is for bussing.

"Changing bus routing would save us significant funding and also allow most drivers to make fewer, more efficient runs during the day," Tata said.

Tata said the school district is growing by 3,000-4,000 students each year. He said if bus schedules stayed the same, next year the school system would need to purchase 52 additional buses.

If the plan to shift school times and bus routes goes as Tata would like, taxpayers will see a savings of up to $10 million.

Tata also addressed some high school parents' concerns at his press briefing. The school board voted this week to pursue ninth grade centers at Garner and Panther Creek High Schools.

In the move, ninth graders would be pulled from the high schools and taught in a separate facility to help ease overcrowding, as well as the transition from middle to high school.

Some parents have reached out to ABC11 expressing their concerns that the proposed center for Panther Creek ninth graders is too far from the school.

In response, Tata said, "as we've listened to parent feedback, we'll probably take a look at the Panther Creek ninth grade center and I'll talk to the board chair, and see if there's not another look we want to take at that ninth grade center."

Ninth grade centers are already in use at other Wake County high schools.

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