Parents show concern over plan to shift students in Wake County schools

Parents wearing red at the meeting Tuesday night. Photo by Michael Hyland/CBS North Carolina

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Parents concerned about the latest plan to shift children to new schools in Wake County told the school board to rethink the proposal Tuesday night.

“You were not listening to the actual concerns of parents,” said Heather Balsley of Holly Springs.

RELATED: Wake County Schools Superintendent Merrill to retire in Feb. 2018

Balsley was among dozens of parents who wore red to the meeting as they tried to highlight their concern about the new Buckhorn Creek Elementary School operating on a traditional calendar.

Data from Wake County school administrators shows 84 percent of the students who will attend there are coming from year-round schools. They want the school board to change the plan for Buckhorn Creek, so that it will operate year-round as well.

“I wish that they would actually take community feedback seriously, and I don’t feel like any of us feel like we’ve been heard,” said Balsley.

The school is among four new ones that will open next year. The others include: South Garner High, Apex Friendship Middle and Bryan Road Elementary in Garner.

In addition, some students will move to alleviate overcrowding at other schools in the county. The district is also trying to meet a state mandate on smaller class sizes at the K-3 level next year.

“Everybody is disheartened, reluctant. There is no easy decision. We have growth. We’re opening new schools, legislative mandates. There are many factors,” said Monika Johnson-Hostler, chairwoman of the Wake County School Board. “We heard our community, and we’re making the best decision that we can, given the circumstances.”

Before Tuesday’s public hearing, board members discussed the possibility of switching Buckhorn Creek to a year-round calendar.

Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore pointed out that may not be feasible due to the construction schedule. Year-round schools start in early July, while traditional calendar schools don’t begin until late August.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the reassignment plan Dec. 5. To view the latest changes to the plan, click here.

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