Reassignment Revolt: Morrisville families fight back against Wake school plan

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Come this time next school year, the dirt-covered construction entrance off Little Drive will be the brand new Parkside Elementary School - but it's not the school many parents in Morrisville want.

Many families in Morrisville say they voted for the 2013 Wake Schools construction bond on the promise that Parkside would be a traditional calendar school. So, they were shocked when the new school reassignment plan was released and Parkside was listed as year round.

"We voted for the 2013 school bond with the understanding that they were going to open traditional schools," said parent Anne Robotti.

Robotti and a small army of Morrisville parents are leading a campaign to vote against the 2018 school construction bond - as a protest of what they see as the broken promises of Wake County Schools.

"When we saw the (2018 reassignment) plan, we couldn't figure out what was going on," said parent Ron Garcia. "Why do we have to send our kids 23 miles away?"

These parents feel Morrisville too often gets the short end of the stick as the state's largest school district adjusts and readjusts to a booming population and the school reassignments that go with it.

They argue Morrisville has a dearth of traditional calendar schools in close proximity to neighborhood centers. And now the promise to fix that is being taken away.

"The (school board) totally ignored us and they turned a deaf ear to all of our pleas.," said parent Vinitha Cardoza. "And, we're done pleading now. Now, it's time for them to hear us."

WCPSS notified the families over the summer their children were being proposed to be switched from their longtime traditional-calendar school close to home to Parkside Elementary, which is now slated to be a year-round school. The proposal provided families the option of applying to traditional-calendar magnet school, Powell Elementary - 23 miles away.

"They're building the school down there right now and saying it's year-round. I think we should deny it," said Brady Von Borken, a student from Morrisville.

Wake County Commissioner John Burns voted in favor of the $548 million school construction bond on the ballot awaiting voters approval. Burns has been vocal on Twitter, battling back on the concerns of Morrisville parents - telling them the state legislature's new class size reduction mandate, set to be phased by the 2020-21 school year, forced Wake schools to make the unpopular reassignment changes.

"So voting against this bond is absolutely counter-productive to the goals that they seek. We can meet their concerns by building more schools," Burns told ABC11. "So I would tell them they're cutting off their nose to spite their face."

Back in Morrisville, these families argue the district is moving too fast. The mandate is still years away.

"Our choice isn't a choice,' said parent Holly Wittenborn. "We're being sent out of town after supporting the bond the last time."

Wake school board members are in talks over whether to approve the reassignment plan. A final vote is expected November 20. That's two weeks after voter decide on the half-billion-dollar school construction bond.
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