Wake County school board approves school reassignments, but leaves question mark

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County Board of Education approved part of next year’s reassignment plan that affects thousands of families Tuesday night, but members delayed a decision on the new Buckhorn Creek Elementary School.

In recent weeks, many parents have contacted the board concerned that the school will run on a traditional calendar. More than 80 percent of students assigned to it will come from year-round schools, according to data from Wake County schools.

“It’s exceptionally frustrating,” said Amanda Liimatainen, a parent of two children. The proposed changes will put her kids on different calendars, meaning they won’t be in school at the same time.

“I, frankly, don’t have a job that would allow me to work from home for three months straight, while I have flexibility with the year-round calendar.”

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Board member Bill Fletcher noted the reassignment process “basically ignores the calendar the family is currently using.”

School administrators are trying to fill four new schools in Garner, Apex and Holly Springs. In addition, the reassignment plan accounts for a state mandate on smaller class sizes at the kindergarten to third grade level.

“We have several parents who aren’t happy with the decisions that are before us,” said Monika Johnson-Hostler, chair of the school board.

Parents such as Liimatainen want the board to open Buckhorn Creek in Holly Springs as a year-round school. Administrators have said construction may not be done in time for that. Year-round schools begin in early July, while traditional-calendar schools begin in late August.

The board will meet again next week to discuss potential changes to the reassignment plan as it pertains to Buckhorn Creek. If the board decides to make changes, that could result in families who are currently unaffected by the reassignment plan suddenly becoming affected. Matt Dees, a spokesman for Wake schools, said the district would reach out to families at that point. The board could take a final vote Dec. 19, leaving just a few days for parents to give feedback.

CBS North Carolina asked Johnson-Hostler whether the board should begin this process sooner.

“I personally as a parent and school board member would like to see us start this early, so that we actually have parents, families and the community at large weigh in,” said Johnson-Hostler.

Changes approved Tuesday night impact children who will attend three other new schools: South Garner High, Apex Friendship Middle, Bryan Road Elementary. In addition, the plan affects children attending several existing schools.

To view the reassignment plan, click here.

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