The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is opposing a proposal to allow up to 14 under-enrolled Wake County multi-track year-round schools to switch to a single track for the 2011-12 school year.
In a press release today, GSIW says the decision should be postponed until after the new comprehensive long-term student assignment plan is developed. The new plan wouldn't go into effect before the 2012-13 school year.
“A piecemeal approach to assignment is precisely what got previous Wake School Boards into trouble,” said GSIW Chair Yevonne Brannon in the press release. “As Superintendent Tata and his staff are currently working on a long-term plan, it seems logical to look at the bigger picture before impacting overall school capacity. We are sensitive to the desire of parents who wish to have their children on a single calendar, but we don’t want projected growth to cause another upheaval when we need room for new students.”
Tata has talked about how the shift to single track would make it easier to convert the schools back to a multi-track schedule if the need arises while potentially savings $50,000 per school for this fall. That's why he has said he didn't recommend putting the schools on a traditional calendar.
Even though the press release talks about delaying a decision until after the new long-term assignment plan is in place, it doesn't look like GSIW would want to do the schedule changes then either. In an accompanying report, GSIW lists out a variety of reasons for leaving the 14 schools on a multi-track calendar.
GSIW focuses on the capacity that would be lost from the change, particularly in high growth areas such as near Highcroft Drive Elementary.
"Great Schools in Wake appreciates the efforts to accommodate parent input around yearround programs where utilization is lower than desired," according to the GSIW report. "However, in order to spend Wake County tax dollars wisely, we must maximize the use of all school facilities."
Also in the report, GSIW brings up issues such as insufficient notice of the change to families and their belief that the schools will become overcrowded by the return of families who opted out for a traditional calendar but would return if the schools were on track 4.
Wake is currently conducting an online survey of parents, teachers and students at the 14 schools. The survey runs through Friday but some preliminary numbers are supposed to be presented at Tuesday's school board work session.