In a 7-1 vote Tuesday night, Wake County school leaders approved a plan to send thousands of students to different schools for the 2019-2020 school year.
Board members say the plan helps fill several new schools, and fix crowded classrooms in existing ones. Donald Agee the only member to vote against it.
“We know that everyone can’t walk away from this conversation getting the seat at the school that they want,” said WCPSS Board Chair Monika Johnson-Hostler.
The plan is the first step in a multi-year process to address growth in Wake County by creating new schools. Four will open in the 2019-2020 school year: Green Level High School, Alston Ridge Middle School, Parkside Elementary School, and Southeast Raleigh Elementary School.
Wake County School Board members were presented with a fourth and final draft of school reassignment plans for the 2019-2020 school year Tuesday afternoon. Director of Student Assignment Glenn Carrozza said it has taken into consideration many of the concerns raised by impacted families over the past few months.
Johnson-Hostler said reassigning students is not a decision the board takes lightly.
Under the plan, students will go to either one of four brand new schools, or be reassigned to an existing school.
For months, parents have attending meeting, work sessions, and even held a rally to voice there concerns about where they want, or don’t want, their students to attend school.
Parents, particularly in western Wake County, have raised concerns about the reassigned schools’ proximity of their homes, or the calendars they follow.
“If you can see your school from your backyard and you can walk to it in less than two miles, it should be your base,” said parent Brenda Nichols.
Nichols was part of a group of Cameron Pond families vocal from the start of the reassignment process. Under the plan, Nichols children will no longer be able to attend the Mills Park schools in their neighborhood.
“New neighborhoods are fundamentally getting treated better than the existing neighborhoods, and that’s just not right,” Nichols said.
Board members also approved plans to examine undeveloped areas of Wake County and assign them to different schools.
Johnson-Hostler said she welcomes public discussions to address Wake County’s growth.
“We’re still going to have an enrollment plan as long as we are growing. There’s no magical formula. If there was, I assure you staff would have found it by now, because they are looking for ways to make this simpler and easier,” she said.
The final plan allows some reassigned students to “grandfather,” into their current school, but in most case is limited to rising 5th, 7th, and 8th grade students and some high school students.
WCPSS said it plans on sending out a notice to eligible families after Thanksgiving, opening up the application process for grandfathering, which is guaranteed for approval. However, the board says there will be a hard deadline for those requests.
The Board says it’s website is updated allowing parents to put in their address to see which school their child will attend next year.