Brandon and Aimee Bryce were among the dozens of parents and students, many who live in west Cary, who lined up early for Wednesday night's first in a series of public meetings on Wake County new school assignment proposal.
The Bryces live a half-mile from Davis Drive Middle School. It's their beloved neighborhood school that their son and daughter are able to walk to. But under the assignment proposal recently sent out by WCPSS, the Bruce children would attend East Cary Middle School - seven miles away.
Cary Parents and students already lined up and waiting to get in to tonight's WCPSS school reassignment meeting. Many upset about proposal to switch some Davis Drive middle schoolers to newly-built East Cary Middle. #abc11 pic.twitter.com/72BIUDSKD8— Joel Brown (@JoelBrownABC11) August 29, 2018
"It's really all about proximity," Aimee Bryce said. "We have lived in our house for 18 years to ensure that these kids go to Davis Drive and now they're going to take that away from us and put our kids on the bus for an hour."
Like many of these parents, the Bryces worry about losing the sense of community they have built around their neighborhood school - fearing the lack of proximity would force them to be less involved in their children's school.
The main driver of the contentious plan is next school year's opening of four new schools. The district, North Carolina's largest, is also trying to relieve pressure on its stock of crowded and over-crowded schools. That list includes Davis Drive Middle.
Cary's rep on the school board, Bill Fletcher, moderated the meeting, It was a struggle to keep order among the fired up parents.
Packed house for first 2019-20 WCPSS school reassignment meeting. Parents launched a petition tonight to stop the proposal to move their children. pic.twitter.com/O6AxH3bldN— Joel Brown (@JoelBrownABC11) August 29, 2018
"How would you draw the map differently to accomplish the same objectives?" Fletcher asked at one point.
He was answered with shouts and groans of disapproval and genuine solutions from parents who had analyzed the pages' worth of district enrollment data.
"The growth is going to be organic," said Davis Drive parent Ngoc Hulbig, who disagrees with the plan to move her children's home school. "You don't need to artificially infuse east Cary to fill seats with students that live seven miles away."
Fletcher told ABC11 that Wednesday night's feedback from parents would be considered as district leaders fine-tune the plan.
"Oh, absolutely if it were a done deal, we wouldn't have to have a public hearing," Fletcher said.
This was the first of seven public meetings on the school reassignment proposals.
The school board is expected to vote on the final plan November 20.