Adding to changes the new majority on the Wake County Board of Education has already made, members approved a resolution on Tuesday, ending mandatory year-round assignments beginning with the 2010-11 school year.
Chairman Ron Margiotta, and members Deborah Prickett, Chris Malone, Debra Goldman and John Tedesco voted in favor of the resolution, while members Carolyn Morrison, Keith Sutton, Kevin Hill and Anne McLaurin voted against it.
The resolution reads that “there will be no mandatory year-round assignments. Every effort will be made to accommodate families into the calendar of their choice, whether it is year-round or traditional, at a school within proximity of their residence. We will no longer deny calendar applications based on socio-economic status. We will use each and every seat efficiently.”
Before the vote, McLaurin expressed concern that ending mandatory year-round schools would cause significant overcrowding and underutilization. Her points were those long voiced by district leaders who argued that mandatory year-round schools, which divides students into four groups and has them rotate on a schedule of nine weeks of class and a three-week break, are needed.
Two years ago, the district converted 22 elementary and middle schools to year-round schedules, and officials ordered all new schools to operate on that calendar. Administrators defended the controversial moves by saying it would help the district keep up with enrollment growth and save money on school construction since year-round schools can accommodate more students than traditional-calendar schools.
Opponents argue that year-round schools have not eased overcrowding and that they create a hardship for families.
“We already have mass-overcrowding,” Tedesco said, adding that there is potential for capacity stabilization.