Kids, parents sound off to Wake school board: 'Please don't reassign us'

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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Wake County parents and students are continuing their fight against the school assignment plan

CARY, NC (WTVD) -- Wake County parents and students are continuing their fight against the school assignment plan for next year.

Many in the Cameron Pond area in Cary are frustrated about the proposal to move students away from Mills Park Elementary and Middle schools, which are right next to their neighborhood.

"I really love my school and I don't want to leave it," said Aya Bashir, a third-grader at Mills Park Elementary. "We want to stay at Mills Park. Please do not reassign us to another school."

Nearly 25 parents from the school spoke at Tuesday night's school board meeting. Everyone who turned out for Mills Park was wearing orange.

"My son Owen is in the first grade at Mills Park Elementary and in his short resume with Wake County schools, he's already had to change schools once," said Leslie Cramer, a parent. "My son said, 'The school board wants me to change schools again and I don't want to so I need your help. Please honor your commitment to all four pillars including stability and leave our kids at Mills Park schools."

Weeks ago, Wake County school officials released their first draft of student reassignment for the next school year. In it, students would be moved from Mills Park schools to either Carpenter Elementary or Alston Ridge Middle School.

The new facilities are on different calendar years -- Mills Park is traditional and Carpenter is year-round.

The district is opening four new schools next year and is trying to relieve pressure on its stock of overcrowded schools.

"Cameron Pond is unique in that we will have a newly-built, contiguous greenway without having to cross any dangerous roads," said Julie Ju, referring to the expansion of the Panther Creek Greenway by the town of Cary. "This should be factored into the algorithm when doing school assignments."

Parents say the greenway will allow students to walk and bike to Mills Park schools without having to come anywhere near 540.

"We support each other," said Lianne Franklin, mother of three.

She's hopeful her son won't be moved again. She said that if the reassignment plan goes through, her son will have attended four schools in the past six years.

"When you cut us out, we're going to be divvied into different schools and you're really breaking up an entire community and not just moving kids from schools," Franklin said.

A number of parents from Davis Drive Middle School showed up Tuesday to voice similar concerns.

One school board member said, "We have to make some hard choices and that's the hardest part."

A decision on the reassignment plan isn't expected until November.