Four public feedback sessions in August helped generate a series of recommendations Tuesday to the Wake County Board of Education about ways to make more efficient use of classroom space at five different schools in 2015-2016.
The recommendations followed a discussion by the school board’s Facilities Committee on August 13th involving Alston Ridge Elementary, Ballentine Elementary, Mills Park Elementary, Mills Park Middle and Wakefield Elementary.
The recommendations from staff were based on a wide range of factors including efficient use of schools, cost and parent feedback. Staff members recommended the following:
Alston Ridge Elementary, which currently operates on a single-track year-round calendar, be expanded to a full four-track year-round calendar. The current enrollment cap at Alston Ridge would be removed. Alston Ridge is currently at 111% of capacity with a disproportionate share of kindergarten and first-grade students.
Ballentine Elementary, which currently operates on a four-track year-round calendar, eliminate one track to become a three-track year-round school with the removal of four temporary classrooms. Ballentine is currently at 65% of capacity with the temporary classrooms in place.
Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle, which both operate on traditional calendars, be considered for one of two options. The first option would bring temporary classrooms onto both campuses at a cost of about $1.9 million. It would take nine temporary classrooms at the elementary school and 12 at the middle school to handle expected enrollment increases. Both schools currently operate between 110% and 120% of capacity. The second option would require converting both schools to a multi-track year-round schedule, which many parents oppose.
Wakefield Elementary, which currently operates on four-track year-round calendar, be converted to a traditional calendar so it aligns with the traditional calendar used at Wakefield Middle. Wakefield Elementary is currently just below capacity and its enrollment has declined in recent years. Unused temporary classrooms can be reopened if needed.
No decisions were made Tuesday on the recommendations. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the proposals Sept. 16. It will continue taking feedback from parents through an online forum that can be found at http://envisionwake.mindmixer.com/feedback-on-staff-recommendations-on-under-enrolled-and-crowded-schools