UPDATE SEPT. 18 - Draft 2

  • The school board received Draft 2 of the 2019-20 Student Enrollment Proposal on Tuesday, Sept. 18.


    Look up your address to see your proposed assignment in Draft 2 of the proposal. 


    Here are the main changes recommended in Draft 2:

    • The following neighborhoods would remain based at Cedar Fork Elementary and West Cary Middle instead of being assigned to Parkside Elementary and Alston Ridge Middle School:
    • Families in the Parkside Elementary base attendance area would have the option to apply to Pleasant Grove Elementary as a traditional calendar application school, as well as Powell Magnet Elementary. Under this proposal, Pleasant Grove calendar application students would not receive district transportation while Powell students would. SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK
    • A portion of the Poe Elementary base would be assigned to the new Southeast Raleigh Elementary. SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK
    • The Draft 1 proposal for all students in the Southeast Raleigh Elementary base attendance area to be assigned to Centennial Middle and Southeast Raleigh High will be phased in, instead of happening immediately. SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK
    • A downtown Raleigh area assigned to Turner Creek Elementary would be assigned to Conn Elementary, Centennial Middle and Southeast Raleigh High beginning 2019-20. Draft 1 had recommended making this change in 2020-21. SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

    Other considerations

    We have received a good deal of feedback online regarding some of the proposed changes.


    We are not recommending any additional changes at this time, but our staff is continuing to review information regarding proposed assignments from Davis Drive Middle to East Cary Middle and from Mills Park Elementary and Middle to Carpenter Elementary and Alston Ridge Middle (Cameron Pond neighborhood.)


    Today’s presentation contains staff responses to the proposed changes that have prompted the most feedback. 


    What happens next?

    Parents can continue to share their feedback on this forum.


    We also have scheduled four public meetings where parents will have an opportunity to learn more information and share feedback in person.


    Please note that each of these meetings will have a specific topic focus. Please attend the meeting regarding the proposal that applies to you. If you attend a meeting focused on a topic that does not affect you, there will be student assignment staff available to help answer your questions.

    • Sept. 24 - Cary High School, 638 Walnut St., Cary - TOPIC: Proposed assignments related to East Cary and West Cary Middle schools, as well as proposed calendar application school changes.
    • Sept. 26 - Wakefield Middle School, 2300 Wakefield Pines Drive, Raleigh - TOPIC: Proposed assignments to relieve overcrowding at Heritage High School.
    • Oct. 3 - Panther Creek High School - 6770 McCrimmon Parkway, Cary - TOPIC: Proposed assignments related to Alston Ridge Middle School and Parkside Elementary School.
    • Oct. 1 - Apex High School (Green Level campus) - 7600 Roberts Road, Cary - TOPIC: The opening of the new Green Level High School. Information will be presented about likely academic and extracurricular offerings in the first years of the school.

    Draft 3 will be presented to the board on Oct. 16, and the board will then begin working toward a final plan. A vote is expected on Nov. 20. View full timeline.

     

_______________________________

Draft 1 of the 2019-20 Student Enrollment Proposal was released on Aug. 21.

This is the beginning of a community discussion about the best ways to fill new schools opening in 2019 and to make the best use of existing school facilities. We are committed to ensuring that every child in Wake County attends an excellent school, no matter where they live.

We strive for a collaborative and transparent process. On this forum, we encourage you to find the topic thread that applies to you, then ask questions and provide feedback. School district staff and board members monitor this site regularly.

We will be able to respond directly to questions of process or clarification. We will answer more detailed questions in a frequently asked questions document.

As requested, here is a new thread regarding the proposed reassignments from Mills Park Elementary and Middle.

See if you are proposed to be affected.

Please share your feedback and ask questions below.

175 Responses

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Krissy Campbell about 1 month ago

Draft 2 Talking Points:

  • If Poe ES and Southeast Raleigh ES are implementing a phase-out period, why not apply that to Mills Park ES and Mills Park MS?
  • Why are we still prioritizing stability for schools from further distances as opposed to closer communities who are facing changes that not only hinder stability, but also pose safety and operational efficiency challenges? o Students are still able to attend Turner Creek from downtown Raleigh o Cameron Pond residents are forced to take a less safe route to attend Carpenter ES as it crosses a busy highway 55 and impose higher economic costs with longer bus rides
  • Monika Johnson-Hostler commented on the mind-set of parents: “Where they live is attached to their school”. This should be reality. That is why parents buy houses in specific communities. Why do new developments have that advantage over established neighborhoods?
  • Bill Fletcher addressed the issue of safety. Specifically, he questioned whether a greenway was necessarily safer than sidewalks with crossing-guards.
    o Regardless of who determines safety standards, how can one argue that a greenway (which in the case of the Panther Creek Greenway that does not cross a single road) would be less safe for students when compared to sidewalks that cross major roads? o Roxie Cash brought up a good point that crossing-guards are only present outside of school hours, but what about the safety of middle-school students who come-and-go during school hours? Would you not advocate for safer passageways (greenways) to enhance safety?
  • Dr. Jim Martin requested stats of greenway utilization. It was mentioned that only 17 Mills Park MS students walk to school. If you truly support your comment ”We want to encourage biking and walking to school”, one must support keeping Cameron Pond at the Mills Park schools to improve utilization. o Regardless of whether 17 students or 100 students utilize a greenway, you cannot ignore the fact that it is more safe, more environmentally friendly and provides physiological and mental health benefits. o One should not assume similar utilization patterns for a greenway that has yet to be complete
  • If Cameron Pond North is allowed to remain at Alston Ridge ES, can Cameron Pond South remain at Mills Park ES?
  • Lindsay Mahaffey asked why the Mills Park schools are being attended by neighborhoods all the way down hwy 64. She also asked if White Oak ES could potentially accommodate such neighborhoods.
  • Established vs. new neighborhoods is an argument addressed by Dr. Jim Martin. He supports the idea that age of a neighborhood should factor into decision-making. o Glenn Carrozza mentioned the idea of assigning new neighborhoods to Davis Drive. This goes against seniority. New neighborhoods should not have unfair advantages over established neighborhoods.
  • Roxie Cash addressed the idea of changing the Mills Park schools to a year-round calendar. It was mentioned that Cameron Pond would support this change if allowed to remain at Mills Park. Glenn Carrozza’s response was that a small population (Cameron Pond) should not be allowed to overrule what the majority desire. o Recognition that Cameron Pond is in fact a small community that does not necessarily have a big impact on capacity issues. o Roxie Cash responded by arguing growth should trump desires. o If this is the projected path for the Mills Park schools given future growth, why not implement the change now so that stability does not become an issue down the road?

Questions for the Proposed Changes:

  • Will the year-round schools guarantee similar tracks for siblings?
  • What schools are currently able to apply to Mills Park ES and Mills Park MS? o If Cameron Pond is the only relief for the Mills Park schools, what are the future considerations for when neighboring developments are complete?
  • What pillar(s) support the move of Cameron Pond from the Mills Park schools to their proposed schools?
45 Votes
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Very Concerned about 1 month ago

Re: Mills Park schools changing to a YR calendar, "Glenn Carrozza’s response was that a small population (Cameron Pond) should not be allowed to overrule what the majority desire." The "majority's" preference for traditional schools has created/contributed to havoc all across the western part of the county, not just in the Mills Park base area. At what point is the good of everyone taken into account?!

What happens when all of these new developments are finished? Will the established neighborhoods again be pushed out of our schools to make room for them, all so that the "majority's" calendar preference can continue to be honored?

19 Votes
 
 
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Kevin Younge about 1 month ago

The below letter was sent to school board and Town of Cary officials on September 19. We kindly ask that the school board listen to their constituents.

Dear School Board Members, Mr. Carrozza, Councilwoman Robinson, & Ms. Alexander-

We were disheartened by the board's decision not to revise the Assignment plan for 2019-2020 to keep Cameron Pond at Mills Park ES/ MS. I'd like to address a few specific comments by board members during the September 18th School board working session as they related to the Panther Creek Greenway and Cameron Pond. A video of that meeting can be seen on the WCPSS YouTube channel.

•Mrs. Christine Kushner (Time 102:00 to 102:50) questioned the true purpose of a greenway, and mentioned it was her belief that the purpose was to merely connect parks, not schools.

-The Town of Cary defines a greenway as, "Linking our neighborhoods with parks, schools, community centers, and other neighborhoods." (TOC website)

-According to the Town of Cary Mills Park concept plan - "Mills Park will act as a trailhead for the greenway as well as access point for greenway users to reach the schools”

•Mrs. Christine Kushner (Time 102:50) questioned the true value of greenways while citing that walking and biking to school is in decline.

-This comment is misaligned with Wake County School policy 6140 which states that active transportation, including walking to school, should be supported.

•Dr. Jim Martin (Time 103:00 to 105:00) questioned how much the greenway would actually get used and said the board couldn't make decisions based on 'mythical' assertions of walking to school.

-We kindly ask that board members not discount feedback from their constituents. There are over 100 comments on the Envision Wake website from Cameron Pond residents attesting to the importance of the greenway in proximity and walking to school.

•Mr. Bill Fletcher & Dr Jim Martin (Time 105:00 to 109:30) discounted the use of the greenway in determining assignment, because it is not the school board's role to define safe transportation.

-Again, we kindly ask that board members listen to feedback from their constituents. There is significant feedback on the Envision Wake website citing the belief that walking to school without having to cross a road vs traveling on Hwy 55 and turning left on Morrisville Parkway is much safer.

-According to the Town of Cary Mills Park concept plan - "Children will be able to safely bicycle and walk to school from their neighborhoods on the greenway system."

-If it is now believed that the greenway going through our backyard will in fact not be safe for our children, the Town of Cary owes us an explanation.

There were almost 2000 comments on the Envision Wake website yet the board made almost no changes from Draft 1. We hope the board is listening. For Cameron Pond, this plan is a loss on all 4 pillars.

•To move our children to a new overcrowded school compromises their stability and proximity, the highest priority pillars to us as parents, while benefiting a high performing school. Mr. Glenn Carrozza mentioned that some pillars may have more or less weight depending on the situation, but we would appreciate an explanation of how any of the pillars are being considered here for our children.

•The board mentions the new growth in the White Oak Elementary area as rationale to decompress Mills Park. There are a lot of new homes and projects going up between our neighborhood and Carpenter ES along Highway 55 (Source - Town of Cary active development map). There was a lot of emphasis on overcrowding at Mills Park in the meeting, but the same arguments can be made for Carpenter ES. What we have seen to date leads us to believe that Carpenter ES will be more overcrowded than Mills Park ES, even with the minor changes made in Draft 2 as presented by Mr. Carrozza.

•At the working group meeting, there was discussion of whether Mills Park ES/MS should be changed to a year round calendar. The reasoning made by the school board members as to why this should not be reconsidered was difficult to understand. Mr. Bill Fletcher stated that changing to a year round calendar would not significantly increase capacity at the school, which seems counterintuitive. Second, Dr. Jim Martin said that the school board lacks the power to make changes to the calendar. We also question this assertion given the calendar changes that are being made elsewhere in the school district, yet not in one of the fastest growing areas. It seems to us that reconsidering Mills Park as a year round school would have the highest likelihood of maintaining the 4 pillars, including stability and proximity for the most families, and would present a more sustainable option as the area continues to grow.

Thank you for your consideration,

45 Votes
 
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Carlos Conde about 1 month ago

To summarize the topics that had been raised above, and which I also want to comment on in agreement to the issues that had been brought up by the responses above:, 1. If Cameron Pond is the only relief for the Mills Park schools, what are the future considerations for when neighboring developments are complete? What happens when all of these new developments near Cameron Pond are finished? Will the established neighborhoods again be pushed out of our schools to make room for them, all so that the "majority's" calendar preference can continue to be honored? 2. Lindsay Mahaffey asked why the Mills Park schools are being attended by neighborhoods all the way down hwy 64. She also asked if White Oak ES could potentially accommodate such neighborhoods. (That would be a good alternative in my opinion). 3. If proposed Cameron Pond students be reassigned to Carpenter ES, I suspect an overcrowding issue at that school will ensure ( so the whole idea sounds like having two bottles, one on each hand, then you take the cap out of the left bottle to put it into the right bottle, so identical issue, just on a different school). 4. Year-round vs.Traditional. this will be a traumatic event for students already in the traditional calendar, in the same neighborhood, now facing a year round school, with a potential TOTALLY DIFFERENT TRACK. This goes against what was stated by Monika Johnson-Hostler, who commented on the mind-set of parents: “Where they live is attached to their school”.
I'm also in agreement with the above comment posted : "This should be reality. That is why parents buy houses in specific communities. Why do new developments have that advantage over established neighborhoods?"

34 Votes
 
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Michael Arndt about 1 month ago

Can someone from WCPSS explain why neighborhoods such as Hortons Creek (HC), which are further from Mills Park Middle School (MPMS) than Cameron Pond (CP), are being assigned to MPMS - while Cameron Pond is being pushed to Alston Ridge Middle School (ARMS)?

Here are the numbers, assuming ARMS is built next to Alston Ridge Elementary School:

Distance from CP to MPMS: 1.7 miles Distance from CP to ARMS: 3.2 miles Distance from HC to MPMS: 2.1 miles Distance from HC to ARMS: 1.4 miles

So, changing CP from MPMS to ARMS pushes the middle school for the CP subdivision out an additional 1.5 miles as compared to staying at MPMS.

Conversely, changing HC to ARMS would reduce the distance for that subdivision to their middle school by 0.7 miles, as compared to keeping them at MPMS.

The attached PDF shows the distances in map views, as defined in this post.

Attachments: MPMS_Distances.pdf
28 Votes
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Krissy Campbell about 1 month ago

I would like to add that your maps utilize roadways, and therefore don't account for the Panther Creek Greenway which supports your argument even more.

25 Votes
 
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Matt Dees admin about 1 month ago

Hi Michael. The reason Hortons Creek neighborhood is assigned to Mills Park Middle is for K-8 calendar alignment. In this Student Assignment Proposal, we are proposing to align all elementary-middle calendars in western Wake County.

4 Votes
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Michael Arndt about 1 month ago

Thanks for the reply Matt. I understand that position to some degree, but it really breaks down when you consider that high schools all run on the traditional calendar. Given that there is no ability to align calendars from K-12, I don't see how it makes sense to align for K-8 grades when it results in bussing kids all over the city for families that have kids in the 6-12 grades which need to be aligned.

23 Votes
 
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Scott Lemke 22 days ago

Matt, while aligning k-8 sounds like a reasonable explanation, wcpss changing the calendar option from traditional to year round for Cameron pond is causing this mess for middle school assignment. The assignment staff has unaligned Cameron pond from the traditional high school calendar. There is no reason the alignment to traditional calendar can not be done for middle school allowing Cameron pond to stay at mills park middle.

8 Votes
 
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Nipuna Senaviratna 20 days ago

@Matt Dees Then keep Cameron pond assigned to mills park schools. Kids will stay in the same calendar year as well as in the closest school

5 Votes
 
 
 
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Michael Arndt about 1 month ago

The formatting of my previous post didn't turn out exactly as I thought it would, so I will add one more post to make it clear - Cameron Pond is 0.4 miles closer to Mills Park schools than Hortons Creek.

27 Votes
 
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Krissy Campbell about 1 month ago

I was hoping I could get a clear response as to why WCPSS still prioritizes busing students from further distances (Raleigh and Apex) which in turn causes neighboring communities to not be able to attend their closest schools. I, like many others, bought in Cameron Pond because I wanted my kids to attend Mills Park. However, draft 2 continues to allow kids from other districts to attend our most proximal schools, thereby affecting our sense of community, stability and negatively impacting operational efficiency.

36 Votes
 
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Arpita Sullivan about 1 month ago

As long term resident of Cameron Pond South I am disheartened by Draft 2 of the reassignment proposal. I fully support the points made above by many of my neighbors in terms of proximity of our neighborhood to MPMS and MPES vs the proximity of other neighborhoods left at these schools, connection to the schools via the proposed green way as well the tragedy of disrupting children currently at a school for planned growth that has not yet happened. I'd also like to remind the board and the school reassignment committee that for families that have lived in Cameron Pond South since the early days this will represent the 4th time we have been reassigned elementary schools. When my family and I moved to Cameron Pond our base elementary school was Carpenter, then Green Hope and then Mills Park and now potentially Allston Ridge. If one of the pillars of the school assignment policy is stability, these continuous changes to our small but neighborhood are in direct contrast to this pillar. I ask that the reassignment committee and board consider all these points in their final decision and look much more closely at options that would allow new developments to fill slots at under capacity schools vs. moving children and families currently at MPMS and MPES out of that school.

34 Votes
 
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Steven Park about 1 month ago

I understand that the first reassignment proposal was drafted without the knowledge of the new walkway connecting Mills Park schools and Cameron Pond neighborhood, but I find it repulsive if anyone is still supportive of the current proposal despite knowing that the walkway will enable our children to walk or bike to their schools.

In his interview with WRAL, Mr. Glen Carrozza stated the reassignment was necessary “because of our high growth, we have overcrowded schools… because overcrowded schools are not healthy for children, nor are underutilized schools." However, as a physician and a professor of medicine, I would like to ask each board member to carefully evaluate how the current reassignment would improve the health of our children. For families like ours with multiple children in elementary and middle school, we would have to drive our children to Alston Ridge Middle, which is 4 miles north of our neighborhood, then to Carpenter Elementary, which is 4 miles southeast of Alston Ridge, and then drive another 3 miles back home by crossing a major highway (Hwy 55) and railroads under the proposed plan. The entire trip would essentially take an hour without even counting the waiting time in carpool line. If we were to bus our children, it would still require at least 30 to 45 minutes of bus ride for each child. This will be toxic to many children and families in our neighborhood, and I do not know how anyone could argue this proposal would be healthy for the children of Wake County. If Cameron Pond stays with Mills Park schools as it has been for the past 10 years, my children will walk or bike (< 0.5 miles) to their schools together.

I ask the WCPSS leadership to request a clear explanation from the assignment committee to justify how the proposed reassignment would comply with the WCPSS board policy 4150. The following is my own preliminary analysis:

  1. Student Achievement: ---Providing an opportunity for families to apply to designated application school: NOT APPLICABLE; ---Minimizing high concentration of low-performing students at each school: NEUTRAL (all existing and proposed schools are high performing); ---Minimizing high concentration of students from low income families: NEUTRAL (all existing and proposed schools have similar demographics).

  2. Stability: NEGATIVE. Cameron Pond has been home base for Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle since 2008 and 2010, respectively. Cameron Pond has a long history and family traditions with Mills Park schools while it has had absolutely no relationship with Carpenter Elementary over the past 10 years. In addition, the proposed reassignment would change the school calendars from traditional to year-round multi-track, further disrupting stability of the children’s lifestyle and extracurricular activities that they have built for many years.

  3. Proximity: NEGATIVE. As explained above (0.5 – 1 mile to BOTH Mills Park schools vs 3 - 4 miles to EACH proposed school in a different direction). Cameron Pond is currently one of the closest neighborhoods to Mills Park while the proposed reassignment would make it one of the furthest neighborhoods from both Carpenter Elementary and Alston Ridge Middle. It needs to be emphasized that I-540 should not be used as a simple boundary since there is currently a pedestrian bridge over the 540, and the new walkway connecting Cameron Pond to Mills Park is already built under the 540. ---Regarding any questions raised on the potential utility and safety of the new walkway, these are classic examples of false logic. If the WCPSS leadership is truly committed to student wellness and active transportation as stated by the WCPSS Policy 6140, the correct approach should start with taking the full advantage of current infrastructure (provided by the town of Cary) followed by an objective assessment of the safety and % utilization. If the stat revealed suboptimal utilization or safety concerns, the next step should involve corrective actions to improve utilization and safety of the walk way. If these issues remained the same despite corrective actions, the walkway could then be completely disregarded in determining school assignment. Again, Cameron Pond is already one of the closest neighborhoods to Mills Park schools even prior to the completion of the walkway.

  4. Operational efficiency: ---Minimize under-enrolled schools: NOT APPLICABLE (all existing and proposed schools will be at full capacity); ---Minimize overcrowded schools: NEGATIVE for Carpenter Elementary (2019/20 utilization at 125% for Carpenter vs 117% for Mills Park with the same trend continuing through 2022). POSITIVE for Alston Ridge Middle (2019/20 utilization at 86% for Alston Ridge vs 99% for Mills Park). However, Mills Park Middle is already projected to be below or close to 100% in utilization. Besides, Cameron Pond community is considered too small to have any significant impact on the school capacity; ---Maximize transportation efficiencies: NEGATIVE (walk/bike to Mills Park vs bus/carpool to the proposed schools).

In summary, the proposed reassignment directly contradicts each and every single criterion stated by the WCPSS Board Policy 4150, especially in the light of the new walkway connecting Cameron Pond and Mills Park schools. I cordially request each WCPSS board member to carefully review the current reassignment proposal and correct this oversight.

43 Votes
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Debra Mcnaughton 28 days ago

Excellent summary Steven, I would request the same... for the WCPSS leadership to request a clear explanation from the assignment committee to justify how the proposed reassignment of Cameron Pond would comply with the WCPSS board policy 4150

27 Votes
 
 
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Krissy Campbell about 1 month ago

The issue of potentially reassigning Cameron Pond 2 years prior should not impact current decisions. A lot has changed in 2 years that have significant impact on reassignment considerations.

(i) A greenway will (not proposed) connect the Cameron Pond neighborhood directly to the Mills Park Schools. As for you mentioning it should be a "secondary" consideration, one cannot ignore the following: * I understand that transportation must still be provided in light of the greenway, but transportation to the proposed schools is farther away and therefore, the argument against Carpenter ES or Alston Ridge MS is stronger in terms of operational efficiency. Furthermore, the greenway will undeniably reduce car pool congestion which is another argument as to why Cameron Pond remaining at the Mills Park schools will improve operational efficiency. * The rising epidemic of childhood obesity cannot be ignored. When your own mandate states "The board is committed to providing a school environment that promotes student wellness" and "Supports active transportation to and from schools, including walking and biking", the impact the greenway will have is a valid and strong argument.

(ii) While the 540 hwy is a geographical landmark, it should not be considered a physical landmark. Cameron Pond residents do not have any direct interaction with the 540 to get to the Mills Park schools. On the contrary, the reassignment to Carpenter ES will force residents to utilize hwy 55 and make 2 dangerous left-turns, which decreases the safety of our students. * Two major arteries to Carpenter ES are either permanently closed or under major construction for the next 4 years due to railway construction. This will undoubtably negatively impact operational efficiency. * Hwy 55 should be considered an East-West division as opposed to the 540 as it is this hwy that will actually be utilized. * There are many high-density developments along hwy 55 that will likely have to impact Carpenter's capacity. Moving Cameron Pond from an over-capacity school to another over-capacity school that is also subject to future grown, does not solve the issue.

(iii) According to your words: "As a board we are committed to minimizing the frequency of reassignments", Cameron Pond has had Carpenter, Green Hope, Mills Park and now potentially Alston Ridge as its base school. This does not align with the boards' goals.

Questions: 1. What pillar(s) support the move of Cameron Pond from the Mills Park schools? 2. If Cameron Pond North has expressed a desire to stay at Alston Ridge ES, students way down hwy 64 are being bused to Mills Park (as opposed to White Oak) and your own argument that age of neighbourhood should factor into decision-making processes, why can't Cameron Pond South remain at the Mills Park schools? 3. What are future considerations once the developments in West Cary are complete? Does today's proposal support current growth? If Mills Park will eventually have to become an all-year round school, why not implement that change now to minimize stability issues in the future?

41 Votes
 
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Georgina Hosang about 1 month ago

We were saddened by the board's decision not to revise the Assignment Plan for 2019-2020 to keep Cameron Pond at Mills Park ES/MS. The argument addressed by Dr. Jim Marin regarding established vs new neighborhood was not taken into factor for this assignment. Brand new developments such as Amberly Glen and Ridgefied Farms are being assigned to Mill Park Middle school with much closer proximity to the newly Aston Ridge Middle school. Just these 2 new developments alone, there will be over 300 new homes with unknown school enrollment children vs established neighborhood like Cameron Pond with stable school enrollment. In terms of distance, the new Alston Ridge Middle school site is 2.3 miles away to Amberly Glen and 1.9 miles to Ridgefield Farms vs 3.4 miles to Cameron Pond. The route from the Alston Ridge Middle to Cameron Pond will be on Green Level Church road, which currently has multiple constructions for new shopping center and developments. This will add more time for kids from Cameron Pond to/from school and reduce the time they have for after school activities such as dance and sports.
Cameron Pond South has around 200 established homes and a future greenway connecting to Mills Park schools. Older kids have enjoyed the ability to walk home from school on Fridays or early dismissal days. Since they do not have to cross any major roads and can walk directly from side walk, parents don’t have to stress on their safety. Once the greenway is establish, kids will have shorter distance and safe way to walk to/from school. We were saddened by the board's decision not to revise the Assignment Plan for 2019-2020 to keep Cameron Pond at Mills Park ES/MS. The argument addressed by Dr. Jim Marin regarding established vs new neighborhood was not taken into factor for this assignment. Brand new developments such as Amberly Glen and Ridgefied Farms are being assigned to Mill Park Middle school with much closer proximity to the newly Aston Ridge Middle school. Just these 2 new developments alone, there will be over 300 new homes with unknown school enrollment children vs established neighborhood like Cameron Pond with stable school enrollment. In terms of distance, the new Alston Ridge Middle school site is 2.3 miles away to Amberly Glen and 1.9 miles to Ridgefield Farms vs 3.4 miles to Cameron Pond. The route from the Alston Ridge Middle to Cameron Pond will be on Green Level Church road, which currently has multiple constructions for new shopping center and developments. This will add more time for kids from Cameron Pond to/from school and reduce the time they have for after school activities such as dance and sports.
Cameron Pond South has around 200 established homes and a future greenway connecting to Mills Park schools. Older kids have enjoyed the ability to walk home from school on Fridays or early dismissal days. Since they do not have to cross any major roads and can walk directly from side walk, parents don’t have to stress on their safety. Once the greenway is establish, kids will have shorter distance and safe way to walk to/from school.

32 Votes
 
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Matt Dees admin about 1 month ago

We have answered some frequently asked questions. Please read and share feedback. https://wcpss.granicusideas.com/discussions/2019-20-student-enrollment-proposal/topics/draft-2-faq-2

5 Votes
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Kevin Younge about 1 month ago

I’d like to address the below FAQ answer.

*Why not make crowded schools like Mills Park and Davis Drive elementary and middle schools year-round to increase capacity? Mills Park Elementary opened as a year-round school, but parents asked the school board to change to traditional calendar because it better suited their needs. The school board in 2014 decided against a proposal to make the Mills Park schools year-round, due to parent objections. It is accurate to say that converting to year-round calendar would increase capacity. We are not recommending that at this time because that would be a major change well into the process. It is possible this will have to be considered in future years as growth in the area continues. **

Cameron Pond parents immediately provided feedback against the reassignment after draft 1. However, the board delayed full assessment of that feedback to draft 3. If it is now too late in the process to appropriately analyze solutions to overcrowding at Mills Park, including a calendar change or reassigning further away neighborhoods and without direct greenway access, the board should delay the proposed change for Cameron Pond until the 2020/2021 cycle to better understand all options.

The area has experienced significant growth since 2014 when the board last reviewed the proposal to make Mills Park year round. The board has an obligation to regularly review the most sustainable options to meet all 4 pillars, especially in high growth areas. Please don’t move our children to a new, more crowded school, while benefiting a high performing school, without doing due diligence on all options. We believe such a move is a loss on all 4 pillars.

27 Votes
 
 
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Krissy Campbell about 1 month ago

What pillar(s) justify the reassignment of Cameron Pond to Carpenter ES and Alston Ridge MS?

33 Votes
 
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Steven Park 29 days ago

I appreciate the WCPSS board is trying to solve the overcrowding problem in rapidly growing areas. Having said that, moving Cameron Pond, a small, established, and proximal neighborhood, to distant schools is like putting a small bandaid on a gaping wound. I agree with all the board members that the previous decision to convert the year-round to traditional calendar is the main culprit of the problem in this high growth area.

I also agree that there is no easy solution to this, but one idea is to make a compromise and propose a dual-tract, instead of a multi-track system, for Mills Park schools. The reassignment committee could then carve out a large segment of neighborhoods that are most distal to Mills Park schools and give parents options to decide if they would be reassigned to surrounding schools or be assigned to the second tract at Mills Park. I believe more than 95% of parents would support the non-traditional calendar to keep their children at Mills Park because the stability and proximity are the top priorities for most parents.

I’m aware that these types of changes would require a careful planning over a long period of time, likely a couple of years. In the meantime, I ask all the board members to postpone the proposed Mills Park reassignment indefinitely until a definitive plan is made. Moving Cameron Pond will NOT solve the existing overcrowding problem in West Cary, but it would merely reshuffle the same problem by moving a small number of children from an overcrowded school (Mills Park, utilization at 117%) to a more overcrowded school (Carpenter Elementary, utilization at 125% in 2019/2020). Furthermore, this proposed move would violate every single pillar established by the WCPSS board policy, and if approved, these types of decisions could make the citizens of Wake County start questioning the competency and integrity of the WCPSS leadership.

35 Votes
 
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Brenda Nichols 29 days ago

I am writing with deep disappointment that Draft 2 of the student assignment plan has not reverted the Cameron Pond neighborhood back to the current assignment of Mills Park Elementary and Middle schools for the portion of the neighborhood currently assigned there.  We have presented compelling data in support of our request to leave Cameron Pond assignment as is.  The PTA president at Mill Park Elementary, who does not live in our neighborhood, has appealed to the board as well, demonstrating the remarkable support that Cameron Pond families have on the Mills Park school community.  Our families WILL use the greenway to access the schools. Please do NOT compare the Cary Park students' use of their greenway to forecast what Cameron Pond students will do as these are independent.

Perhaps one of the most disheartening aspects in all of this is the assignment of brand new neighborhoods with no history or ties to a school over the established, existing neighborhoods in closer proximity and with strong ties to a school. It seems that this should be of paramount importance in the assignment process, so as to minimize impact as much as possible to as few students as possible.  The new neighborhoods south of Green Level West Rd and the new area of land being cleared across from Panther Creek High School should NOT have seats at Mills Park Middle over Cameron Pond. Cameron Pond is a long established neighborhood, fully built out with families that have long histories with the Mills Park Schools and are within walking distance of the schools, unlike these new communities.  Draft 2 continues to go against the pillars of proximity, stability, operational efficiency and student achievement with its proposed reassignments of Cameron Pond. 

We plead for the board to reconsider the plan and to leave Cameron Pond students at their current assigned schools.  

36 Votes
 
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Brenda Nichols 29 days ago

From the Draft 2 FAQ: "Why not make crowded schools like Mills Park and Davis Drive elementary and middle schools year-round to increase capacity? Mills Park Elementary opened as a year-round school, but parents asked the school board to change to traditional calendar because it better suited their needs. The school board in 2014 decided against a proposal to make the Mills Park schools year-round, due to parent objections. It is accurate to say that converting to year-round calendar would increase capacity. We are not recommending that at this time because that would be a major change well into the process. It is possible this will have to be considered in future years as growth in the area continues."

This raises now additional concerns in that if the board is thinking about making Mills Park Year round, then the shuffling out of the small number of students from Cameron Pond this year to year round schools seems premature at best. If made year round then Mills Park Schools could accommodate more students, including the current students from Cameron Pond. If you move us out this year it's unlikely you'd move us back next year if MP is made year round. So why not hold off on any decisions regarding changes to CP this year and leave CP assignment as is and have more tie to fully consider all factors to make the best decision possible?

Also from Draft 2 FAQ: "The proposal to increase the base attendance area of Green Hope Elementary appears to increase the crowding at that school. How do you justify that? Green Hope Elementary right now has a disproportionately high number of application students. We will manage the crowding by reducing the number of application students we accept."

The most proximal traditional calendar ES option school for Cameron Pond under this plan is in fact Green Hope ES, but it sounds like we'll have very little chance to actually get a seat there based on this response. This again points to the issues surrounding Cameron Pond as being perhaps too complex to sort out in the next few weeks such that the best decision for now is to leave the status quo for now and have CP attend the same schools next year as they are this year wile all of the information and other factors can be appropriately considered so that the most appropriate solution is found.

The children of Cameron Pond have been reassigned several times over the 12+ years we have lived in this neighborhood. Please apply the pillars of stability and proximity to Cameron Pond and assign the developments currently under construction to schools other than Mills Park.

33 Votes
 
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Dustin Durden 28 days ago

I 100% agree with all the comments that my fellow community members shared in these arguments with their eloquent responses. However I do believe the old adage that a picture is worth a 1000 words. Here is a picture I took this evening during my nightly WALK through the neighborhood with my iPhone, no zoom or expensive telephoto lens, from the back of the Cameron Pond neighborhood off Magalloway Drive. It shows my neighbors' driveway, a few trees and Mills Park Middle!!!! What is going to go right through those few trees? The answer is a beautiful greenway to connect out neighborhood to the school. It is common sense y'all. Don't move us from schools that we can see from our back yards. It would be disgraceful. Keep the school assignments for Cameron Pond as is.

Attachments: IMG_6773.jpg
39 Votes
 
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Debra Mcnaughton 28 days ago

I was very disappointed to see that Draft 2 of the student reassignment plan has not yet changed Cameron Pond neighborhood back to Mills Park schools. It seems that the material provided by the neighborhood is still being reviewed?? Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to thoroughly review the information thoughtfully assembled by the Cameron Pond community.

According to current Policy, clearly the Board recognizes that proximity is important, yet the current proposal would require Cameron Pond elementary families to bus their children a challenging and/or long distance trip instead of attending schools essentially right ‘in their backyard’. Just a few weeks ago, Glenn Carrozza stated “Proximity is difficult especially in this area of the country, because we are limited where we can build schools and have very dense populations. It’s something that we have to consider, but it’s something that we can’t always accomplish.” If proximity between neighborhoods and schools is already limited because of where new schools can be built, it would seem imperative to the Board to preserve the few opportunities that actually exist for achieving walkable proximity. Moving the Cameron Pond neighborhood from the very close (and walkable) proximity of Mills Park schools to another school removes this real and obvious opportunity.

I respect that student assignments pose a difficult challenge for the Board. However, Cameron Pond families, understandably, do not see the wisdom in moving students from one overcrowded school to another overcrowded school when the net result of doing so certainly sacrifices the pillars of Stability, Proximity and Operational Efficiency. We are struggling to understand how this proposal upholds any part of Board Policy 4150 and request a response to that question.

33 Votes
 
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Kristin Molitoris 28 days ago

I would like to add to the role that Cameron Pond plays as part of the Mills Park community. I am the president of the Mills Park Elementary PTA, and I have seen firsthand the disproportionately high rate of support that these families give to MPE. They volunteer in higher numbers and for more positions than their share comparable to their enrollment numbers. CP students currently fill only 11.7% of our seats at MPE, yet CP parents make up 17.2% of our Room Parents, 2 out of 7 of our PTA board seats, and head up essential programs at MPE such as our Nourishing Noggins program to assist our economically disadvantaged students. They make up over 20% of our paid members and consistently support MPE in spirit wear sales, spirit night attendance, and donations to our school. Because they have been attending MPE since we opened our doors, the amount of knowledge about how the school operates and what needs to be done is invaluable and irreplaceable!

I strongly feel that MPE would take a hit next year if CP were to be redistricted. I don’t live in Cameron Pond but am extremely concerned as a Mills Park Elementary parent and volunteer. If the PTA is not able to fill volunteer positions or fund programs, items such as higher than average devices per student (almost 2x as high as Wake County) and average books per student (higher than Wake County or NC average) may be affected. We have very low one year teacher turnover rate (less than 1/3 of NC average), due in large part to the support given by the PTA. Interestingly, all of those items are noted on NC School Report Cards as attributing to our recent A grade. Losing CP support will significantly impact the pillar of Stability not only for CP students at MPE, but for ALL students at MPE.

Furthermore, there seemed to have been doubt about the usage of the new Greenway that is currently under construction. The Cary Park Greenway was cited at the 9/18/18 board meeting as being not heavily used and it was presumed that the Cameron Pond Greenway would meet the same fate. This just isn’t an applicable comparison. The Cary Park Greenway still routes kids to walk along Green Level Church Road – a busy thoroughfare for this side of town. A much better comparison would be to the Greystone Greenway, another Greenway connecting a neighborhood directly to the Mills Park campus without crossing heavily used roads. I happen to live in Greystone and can attest to the dozens of people that use it regularly – several times a week if not daily! Given the size of our neighborhood, we have a high rate of walkers. In fact, usage this year has been up to the point where neighborhoods across Green Level Church (such as Southbridge) are using it more, and the Cary Police Department has had a police car out to actively monitor the road crossing for the past two school mornings (9/21/18 and 9/24/18). If Cary PD can recognize that more and more people are walking to school and need to do so safely, I hope the WCPSS School Board can too.

Overall I feel as though MPE is a better school because of our Cameron Pond families. As the PTA president, I see the impact and difference they make on the school, and the school board needs to keep them there!

41 Votes
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Lynsay Simper 27 days ago

Thank you for your support Kristin!

22 Votes
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Binu Thomas 25 days ago

Thank you Kristin!

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Brenda Nichols 27 days ago

Thank you for your support Kristin. And thank you for pointing out that each neighborhood and greenway situation is different. Cameron Pond has been waiting for years for the Panther Creek Greenway to be completed and now with the approved/funded project and ground breaking this pathway to connect Cameron Pond directly to the schools and Mills Park unabated and with kids walking/biking the same neighborhood streets they use daily to go to friend's houses will finally be ready for our students to use next school year. Thank you for all that you and the entire PTA do for our school!!!

26 Votes
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Miral Hassan 22 days ago

Thank YOU so much Kristin

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Yan Tang 21 days ago

Thank you so much for your support.

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Scott Lemke 22 days ago

Thank you for your support of Cameron Pond and Mills Park Schools. I agree that the Greystone Greenway utilization is a better indicator of Cameron Pond utilization than cary park the board was using. But, I think Cameron Pond utilization will be even higher considering we will have no roads to cross outside of our neighborhood. I hope wcpss gives us the chance to get the highest percentage of walkers/bikers to Mills Park schools. My kids are already training for it.

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Krissy Campbell 27 days ago

Your note should speak volumes to the school board members. The reassignment does not impact your own neighborhood, but you present a strong case in support of keeping Cameron Pond at the Mills Park schools.
THANK YOU!

30 Votes
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Heather Fischer 20 days ago

Thank you Kristen!

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Julie Ju 28 days ago

First of all, I realize this is not an easy decision, so thank you for your hard work and open minds. I support the comments regarding Cameron Pond. We implore each school board member to come to Cameron Pond to see the proximity of the CONFIRMED greenway, to the Mills Park schools. It was disheartening to see many school board members have no idea where Cameron Pond is located. Before you decide on a vote that will have such a negative impact on all of our families, please come and see it with your own eyes. Not only is this Draft 2 proposal at direct odd with each of the 4 pillars (Student Achievement, Stability, Operational Efficiency, Proximity), it also puts our kids in great danger with the two construction projects involved with the long commute to school. Traffic will be heavy and dangerous at the exact intersection where the buses have to turn onto HWY 55 for THREE YEARS, for the commute to Carpenter Elementary and West Cary Middle (traditional option) https://www.townofcary.org/projects-initiatives/project-updates/street-projects/carpenter-fire-station-road-bridge-and-intersection-improvements The Town of Cary will also be widening the road right at the Cameron Pond entrance going toward 55 where the buses will have to travel to get to Carpenter Elem and West Cary Middle (traditional option). The CFS road widening will not start until 2022 at the earliest according to the project site. This means that the intersection will be disrupted and under construction for the next five or six years, if not longer. There are already frequent accidents at these intersections, so the risk and danger will only increase with adding this additional traffic to the school commute. https://www.townofcary.org/projects-initiatives/project-updates/carpenter-fire-station-road-widening

It was extremely disappointing to see the Draft 2 Proposal has not taken into account all of the facts provided by Cameron Pond. Student Achievement:
- By moving Mills Park Elementary students to Carpenter Elementary, it will be increasing the student utilization at Carpenter and decreasing the student utilization at Mills Park.This is detrimental to the lower performing school. This is at direct odds with the spirit behind the Student Achievement pillar.

Stability: - The spirit of this pillar acknowledges the importance of keeping as many kids at the current school through the exit grade. It’s traumatic enough moving our kids from our existing neighborhood schools, Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle. The issue is exasperated by moving them from a traditional to year round calendar. - If we lived in a bubble or only had young children, then year round school would be fine. However, we all know extra- curricular activities and sports revolve around REAL WORLD traditional school schedules. It is a logistical nightmare to try to coordinate schedules when kids have different calendar schedules. Since the high schools are on traditional schedules, any family with a high schooler and middle school/elementary school student will be negatively impacted. - If we were to apply and actually get INTO our traditional option (which there’s NO guarantee), that would be West Cary Middle for our middle school students. - West Cary Middle School is almost 7 miles away, which includes crossing an extremely busy 4 lane HWY 55 and crossing traintracks. - Currently, our kids are at the bus stop for Mill Park Middle School around 7:35am, where school starts at 8:15am. Since West Cary Middle STARTS at 7:15 am, our kids would most likely need to be at the bus stop around 6:30am, or earlier.

Operational Efficiency - This proposal will add to the endless carlines that you’re trying to prevent at the proposed reassignment schools, when our kids will be able to walk and bike safely to our existing Mills Park school.

Proximity - You have all the maps and undeniable evidence that clearly shows Cameron Pond is one of the closest neighborhoods to the Mills Park Schools. - The confirmed contiguous greenway will provide easy access to walk/bike, without crossing a single road.

I know you’re looking for solutions for the growing population in the western part of Wake County. Instead of reserving seats at a school for brand new neighborhoods, why not establish a 2 mile radius for existing neighborhoods to stay at their existing schools? Brand new or proposed neighborhoods should be assigned to the new schools where 1 bus can pick up an entire neighborhood, which would also help with Operational Efficiency. It’s completely irrational and punitive to move existing neighborhoods to schools further away, where our families have devoted all of our resources to help make these schools what they are today. Sadly, it makes it hard to want to invest in the Wake County schools when we feel like we’re just constantly getting shuffled around to accommodate brand new neighborhoods.

39 Votes
 
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Leslie Cramer 28 days ago

I would like a person in the Student Assignement office at WCPSS to explain how moving children from one school that is overcrowding to a new school that will be even more overcrowded helps solve the overcrowding problem? In your Draft 2 presentation (slide #9) you show that Carpenter Elementary School will be at a Utilization of 117% with Trailers in 2019-2020 with the proposal, yet Mills Park Elem will be at 115% with Trailers. The difference is even more in the 2021-2022 school year, when Carpenter is at 116% with Trailers and Mills Park Elem is at 111%. How can the school board justify moving student away from a school they love and are succeeding at to a new school that will be even more overcrowded?

As a resident of Cameron Pond and a mom to a MIlls Park Student, please leave Cameron Pond at Mills Park Elementary School and Mills Park Middle School. You can not justify that moving us helps overcrowding! Your own charts show that you will force our kids to a new school, on a new calendar, that will be even more crowded then the school they know and love. Plus we will have the Greenway!

I have highlighted the area on the chart that showcases these utilization #'s. Again from your own slide #9 in Draft 2 presentation.

Attachments: ElemUtilization.PNG
35 Votes
 
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Krissy Campbell 27 days ago

2 Major Projects, Years of Concern. Student safety should be a top priority.

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Lynsay Simper 27 days ago

I won't repeat what my CP neighbors have already stated regarding the four pillars, the greenway, the construction traffic, or our commitment to Mills Park. I just want to note one thing about the process of student assignment. You might think that because Mills Park has long been the base school for our neighborhood, we haven't experienced much instability. This is not the case, largely because of changing procedures in Wake County. With fluctuating rules about who got in to a capped school and who didn't (proximity, residency date, siblings and grandfathering), so many of us have followed whatever the current procedures were and waited our turn to get into what was our neighborhood's base school. We did this without complaint and then wholeheartedly supported Mills Park. Now, a reassignment would be asking our children to go to their third (in my case) or more elementary school, all while living in the same place. Please please please do not force another change on them- one that will not really solve the problem of overcrowding now or in the future.

35 Votes
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Brenda Nichols 27 days ago

So true! My next door neighbor for 12+ years has 2 children that has been shuffled around at least 4 times. Please finally provide true stability to neighborhoods like ours that are within walking distance to their neighborhood school. Any parent in Wake County should be worried about the lack of adherence to WCPSS policies demonstrated by the Draft 2 proposal from the Office of Student Assignment.

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Binu Thomas 25 days ago

Assignment Committee, Would you please let us know how many New and Under Construction neighborhoods and associated units/seats were aligned to the Mills Park schools for the calendar year 2019-2020?

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Lianne Franklin 25 days ago

First of all, thank you to all my neighbors for so clearly outlining the concerns I share with them about Draft 2, and thank you to the school board and drafting committee who continue to invest their time into considering these issues.
I have to admit, I was surprised by the second draft of the boundary realignment still having Cameron Pond cut out of the Mills Park Schools. I am hopeful that since our area of the realignment is still under consideration that it is simply taking more time to sort through all of the logistics, materials, and compelling evidences as to why Cameron Pond should remain in the Mills Park Schools. I believe we have provided nearly two dozen legitimate reasons why this proposal doesn't make sense for our families, neighborhood, city, or Wake County Schools based on nearly every criteria used to weigh these decisions. In addition to what my neighbors have already said, I would like to add that my family waited years for our children to all be admitted into the capped Mills Park Schools after we moved into Cameron Pond. I have two children that never attended Mills Park Elementary, because they spent a combined total of 4 years at our overflow school, Weatherstone Elementary, as they sat on the waiting list for Mills Park Elementary (our base school). When our overflow changed to White Oak Elem. my child who spent two years at Weatherstone was then moved to White Oak where he spent 2 more years before finally going to Mills Park Middle. My youngest child was at Weatherstone for a year before getting into Mills Park Elementary, a school he has now attended most of his elementary years. Now, just as my oldest middle schooler is attend PCHS, a traditional calendar school, we are not only being moved out of our schools but onto a year round track! Our neighborhood has historically been pushed around quite a bit, as mentioned in previous comments. I think it's time we recognize the huge burden of boundary realignments that Cameron Pond has shouldered over the last decade. I think it's imperative to see that families like mine, who have waited patiently for their turn, even through those years that I was shuttling kids to 3 different elementariness (which was extremely taxing and stressful), need to be more heavily considered. Because of our unique position as a small neighborhood wedged between a freeway and a highway, we seem to be constantly pulled into these realignments without much consideration on the continual impact it is having on the people and children who live here. It doesn't make sense that newer developments further away would be drawn into Mills Park while an established community like Cameron Pond, with families that waited their turn, be pushed out. For these reasons, along with the those stated above by others in my neighborhood and community, I believe the only thing that makes real sense is to leave Cameron Pond in the Mills Park Schools. Thank you for keeping an open mind as you consider our very reasonable request.

35 Votes
 
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Mia Bashir 25 days ago

As a community, many of us have posed questions that have still gone unanswered. Draft 2 was submitted without review of our documents, facts or pleas.

When we moved to Cameron Pond over eight years ago I was still only pregnant with my first child – that’s how far in advance we were planning into our children’s educational future. We now have four children and we are hopeful that they can all share in similar memories and share stories about their time at Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle during their future educational journey.

We understand that you have a job to do and need to resolve the issues of overcrowding but the methods you are taking are causing families and children to uproot from what is familiar to them. You need to stay true to your various communities - these ESTABLISHED communities who have paid their fair share of taxes into their schools and local businesses.

You cannot reassign us out of our schools in order to hold spots for new neighborhoods. What ever happened to being “grandfathered in” to a school? As a community we feel lured in with the promise of a spot at our neighborhood school, Mills Park, and now you are trying to take that away!

People in this community will lose faith in this town and the Wake County School System. Why does it make sense to give our “earned” and “grandfathered” spots to new people/communities? Is it to bring more people to the town of Cary? Is it to bring in more tax dollars?

When people hear that you take schools away from those who have lived in their communities for years, Cary will no longer be the "best place to live" and soon people will start exiting...Is that what you want?

I have NEVER heard of student reassignment before moving to NC. I'm appalled that reassignment is the first, go-to attempted solution to a much bigger problem. You cannot band-aid the solution. The School System and the Town need to be communicating and planning TOGETHER.

If as a community we are saying that we don’t want to be moved, it’s your job to listen! We are not chess pieces or blobs on a map on which can be drawn through, divided and sorted. We are real people with real desires for our children to stay at their neighborhood schools in order to have stability.

If we get reassigned, will we be ok and will we adjust eventually? Of course, we would. But that's not the point. The point is this: MILLS PARK IS OUR SCHOOL AND WE HAVE INVESTED EVERYTHING INTO IT. WE DESERVE TO STAY. There is a greenway being built. It’s not a "proposed" plan – it’s slated to happen. You can say that it is to connect Cameron Pond to Mills Park park but realistically, the greenway will also be connecting us to the Mills Park SCHOOLS.

We understand that some may say that one cannot achieve all 4 pillars while still having proximity but I beg to differ.

Some may also question our utilization of the greenway. My two young children get home one full hour after dismissal because there is a shortage of bus drivers. My children would be able to walk SAFELY on the greenway to get home well before the bus could. They would also get exercise out of it and it would help with feeling like they've been cooped up all day as my one daughter tells me.

Cameron Pond has only 107 students attending MPE and yet we account for 17% of the Classroom Parents and 17% of the total donations made to the school. Our neighborhood is built out so our numbers will not increase unlike many newer neighborhoods that are still expanding.

The only year-round “option” you’ve given us is a “guaranteed pathway” at Powell Elementary. This is unrealistic and frankly absurd. How can you call a school in Raleigh a realistic option when we have a school, which we currently attend, and is current working, right in our backyard?? There are some students busing currently for 45 minutes each way. That’s not fair to them or to the lost time those students have with their respective families. And I would not put my child on a bus for upwards of two hours per day. Would you (have) put your children on a bus for two hours per day? Doubt it. I’m sure it’s easy to propose such changes because it doesn’t affect you or your families directly. But if it did, I’m sure we’d see something very different.

If we are moved to Carpenter Elementary, we will be new at an established multi-track school and we will most likely be unable to select the tracks that works best for our families because all of the more “desirable” track will have been taken.

Traffic from our neighborhood to Carpenter Elementary will be heavy and dangerous at the exact intersection where the buses have to turn onto 55 for THREE YEARS.

https://www.townofcary.org/…/carpenter-fire-station-road-br… The Town of Cary will also be widening the road right at the Cameron Pond entrance going toward 55 where the buses will have to travel to get to Carpenter. The CFS road widening will not start until 2022 at the earliest according to the project site. (Presumably this starts after they finish the other project.) This means that the intersection will be disrupted and under construction for the next five or six years, if not longer. https://www.townofcary.org/…/carpenter-fire-station-road-wi… THESE TWO CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS POSE A GREAT RISK AND GREATER TRAVEL TIMES TO OUR CHILDREN.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you were trying to reassign us to a school that is on the same calendar, that’s not too far, that starts at a similar time. By assigning us to Carpenter Elementary or allowing us to go to Powell, you’re not trying to make any reasonable accommodations or give us options that even make sense!

Mills Park may be at overcapacity, but the accommodations that have been made by increasing the number of classes per grade is actually working! Why change something so dramatically if it’s working? I understand you’re are trying to look years into the future to relieve the potential overcrowding but why give newcomers to these communities precedence over the ESTABLISHED communities who have been here for years?!

Possible solutions to allow current students to stay at their current schools: 1. Make all schools within a 2-mile radius of a neighborhood school “safe” from being reassigned. 2. Make all NEW CONSTRUCTION developments move to overflow schools and keep established neighborhoods where they are. One express bus could come to that neighborhood and take all the kids to their school. That community remains in tact with all kids at the same schools with no excess costs in transportation. 3. Move area assigned to MPES at corner of Morrisville Pkwy/Green Level and the yet to be built neighborhoods to White Oak or Highcroft. The existing neighborhoods that have been established for 12+ years deserved the right to continue at Mills Park as we have been. 4. Move areas near 64 over to Jenks Rd to Apex Middle or Lufkin Rd. Middle.

Can you imagine making a huge investment in a particular house in a particular neighborhood, for a specific school just so that stability can be ripped from under you? Please put yourself in our shoes. What would you do?? You would fight tooth and nail and that’s what we are going to do!

We will not back down or give up! Do what’s right!

KeepUsWhereWeAre!

37 Votes
 
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ShyChiann Fang 25 days ago

I’m writing to express my disappointment that Draft 2 of the student assignment plan did not change the Cameron Pond neighborhood back to the current assignment of Mills Park Elementary and Middle schools for the portion of the neighborhood currently assigned there. I’m in complete agreement with the arguments already posted by my fellow neighbors regarding the four pillars, the greenway, the imminent construction traffic, and the commitment to Mills Park that’s been documented by the current PTA president’s post. I urge the WCPSS to more closely examine the totality of data that has been presented and make this revision in the next draft.

30 Votes
 
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Rashmi Sahoo 24 days ago

Both me and my kids love being in Millspsrk elementary and middle school. We are looking forward to walk to school from our Neighbourhood. Cameron pond is an established Neighbourhood with base school as a millspark . What I d't understand is how New and under construction Neighbourhood is assinged to a school which is 8 miles away from their home to a school which is right behind our neighborhood . We are assigned to a traditional school which is over 8 miles away. Why not work out with schools which is within 2 mile radius for each Neighbourhood? It's hard to move old established Neighbourhood to far away schools. Kids are highly impacted psychologically . I request wake county board members to consider reassigning Millspark elementary and middle to Cameron pond Neighbourhood .

Thanks

26 Votes
 
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Lynsay Simper 24 days ago

To the Members of the Wake County School Board:

It was stated in the last board meeting that the purpose of the greenway is to connect neighborhoods to parks, not schools. Below is a link to the original Mills Park Concept Plan: https://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=14705

Page 15 states the following: One of the unique aspects of Mills Park is the joint-use agreement, as previously discussed. This agreement benefited both the Town and the County by providing land to the County for needed schools at a reduced cost and shared cost for the athletic facilities. This is a win-win situation for the County and Town residents, making great use of tax dollars. The sports fields and parking are available for public use after school hours and on weekends. Phase two of Mills Park will be entirely on Town land. Yet in the planning for phase two, parking and vehicular circulation is a critical item to study to ensure that there is no conflict with the school circulation and parking. The Design Team and the Town studied best routes for vehicular and pedestrian circulation in order to reduce conflict and limit confusion for Town residents wishing to use the park during school hours. The Panther Creek Greenway will connect gaps between existing greenways located near the site. The Town of Cary planned ahead and used NCDOT funding to build a boardwalk under I-540 when that thoroughfare was constructed in 2012. This section of 540/Triangle Expressway was completed in December, 2012. This section of boardwalk travels under the 540 overpass providing a safe and attractive means of travel for bicyclists and pedestrians. Until the Panther Creek Greenway is extended east to Cameron Pond and west to Green Level Church Road, there is not a clear path to access the boardwalk. There is also an existing pedestrian tunnel under Green Level Church Road that connects to neighborhoods west of the road, but the greenway does not continue to the east. This section of Panther Creek Greenway is only a mile and half long, but will provide important connections to the existing tunnel and boardwalk and from there, nearby neighborhoods. In addition to connecting these neighborhoods to the larger greenway system, this section of Panther Creek Greenway will also connect to the future Mills Park. Mills Park will act as a trailhead for the greenway as well as an access point for greenway users to reach the schools. Children will be able to safely bicycle and walk to school from their neighborhoods on the greenway system. Many neighbors and students who attended the public input sessions were most excited about this opportunity.

Page 44: Based upon available funding, phase two of Mills Park will include the following: The Panther Creek greenway connection through the site. This greenway will connect to the existing greenway trail on the school entrance drive.

Page 46: Mills Park Phase 2 will be an incredible amenity for residents on the western side of Cary. The construction of the park with Panther Creek Greenway provides a unique opportunity to connect residents to neighborhoods, schools, and the park. By designing and constructing these new features together, the park and greenway have been able to guide the layout of each, providing a cohesive design that meets the needs of the community and fits to the site topography.

Page 7: Mills Park - Project Background In January 2000, the Town purchased the 240-acre Hawes tract, located in west Cary on Green Level Church Road. At the time of the purchase, it was intended to provide land for a Town park as well as other potential uses. In January 2007, the Town agreed to the subdivision of the Town-owned 240-acre Hawes tract with the Wake County Public Schools System (WCPSS) for the purpose of locating an elementary and middle school. In September 2008, the Town Council approved the Mills Park Joint School Park Agreement. The Middle School was designed to include facility enhancements that would provide recreation opportunities for residents, including three multi-purpose fields, a softball field, a running track and basketball courts. These facilities were completed in 2010. This is considered to be “Phase one” of Mills Park. Panther Creek Greenway - Background The Panther Creek Greenway is a major component of the Town’s greenway system, with this particular section connecting numerous residences, parks, trails and schools. The trail project will extend from the Cameron Pond PDD, utilizing the existing boardwalk under I-540 and connecting to the existing pedestrian tunnel located at Green Level Church Road, an approximate distance of 1.2 miles. A connection will also be made to Mills Park, a distance of 0.3 miles. These two segments will complete gaps in the Panther Creek Greenway, creating a continuous trail between Cameron Pond and Cary Park developments. The project will be completely constructed on Town property or easements the Town currently possesses.

As you can see, the greenway was clearly intended to connect neighborhoods (specifically ours) to the schools, not just the parks. Please feel free to comment if you believe that any of this information is incorrect.

30 Votes
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Lianne Franklin 24 days ago

In addition to what Lynday has noted, I would also like to point out as I read through the Mills Park Concept plan on the ToC's website I found the following on page 24 specifically addressing Circulation: "...circulation patterns will need to be considered in park plans to allow for smooth and safe connections from the greenway to the school for children, as well as easy access by residents from nearby neighborhoods." This greenway was clearly designed with specific attention in allowing children from Cameron Pond to walk to the Mills Park schools.

24 Votes
 
 
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Tom Ju 24 days ago

I am extremely disappointed to see that there were no changes to the draft proposal for Cameron Pond.

This proposal will uproot elementary and middle school children from the only schools they’ve known, tearing them away from good friends, familiar teachers, staff, and facilities. My 4th grader has been in Mills Park Elementary since Kindergarten. She spends each morning making her rounds before start of class to hug & say hello to all of her previous teachers – just as her older sister did in years prior @ Mills Park ES. Transplanting children into entirely new schools would be detrimental to their learning development, as they will inevitably be stressed out in new surroundings with unfamiliar faces; diverting their focus from what they are there for: learning. We as parents have also spent many years heavily investing our time & effort into building relationships with faculty, staff, and fellow parents to build a sense of community within Mills Park ES and MS. Needless to say, a change in school will be extremely disruptive and discourage any parent participation going forward.

The change from traditional to year round schools will be overwhelming for my family to manage, as we will have rising 5th and 9th graders. This means that we will potentially have to deal with mixed school calendars for 4 long years. My children are heavily involved with travel sports and other after school activities. Dealing with mixed school calendars will be nothing short of a disaster, as it will be extremely costly and virtually impossible to manage logistically. Our situation is certainly not unique within Cameron Pond.

Alternatively, the traditional calendar option will force children to be bused inexplicably far from home (West Cary MS is almost 10 miles from the community or 5 times further than Mills Park!), through heavily congested roads and some of Cary’s busiest intersections. This choice was especially surprising because my understanding was that WCPSS is actively trying to resolve long busing issues as part of school assignment considerations. It is a 20+ minute drive by car from our house – which can potentially mean a voyage of well over an hour on the bus each way, taking into account pick up/drop off stops. Safety is also huge concern, this is elemental statistics: longer bus/car rides, higher probability of an accident. I can’t even begin to estimate the increased cost to the school system to provide this bus service and its impact to the environment. You are also forcing a large increase in traffic due to more carpooled children for drop off & pick up. This will also infringe on children’s precious time for sleep, homework and severely limits their ability to participate in afterschool activities – just to name a few. From our perspective, this option may be even worse to manage day to day, since the school is so much further away from home and work. You are forcing families to consider alternative school options outside of WCPSS.

The Panther Creek Greenway is scheduled to be completed in the near future that will connect a trail from Cameron Pond to Mills Park schools. Aside from the vast financial commitment from the Town of Cary, Cameron Pond residents have wholeheartedly supported and heavily invested in this Greenway. Residents have supported the development of the easements along their homes for the expressed purpose of providing children of Cameron Pond a path to safely bike and walk to their schools MPES and MPMS. Once the Greenway is complete, Cameron Pond will be physically closer than any other neighborhood to Mills Park schools – most notably, connected without any traffic intersections. If Cameron Pond residents were to be reassigned to another school, it will largely negate one of the primary purposes of this expensive project and will ultimately be severely underutilized. Aside from the financial costs for Wake county, this will be an enormous missed opportunity to promote a healthier, more environmentally friendly lifestyle for our children (and parents) – ironically, the fundamental intended purpose of Greenways.

If proximity is one of the main pillars of these decisions, I certainly could not find any data to support the move of Cameron Pond out of Mills Park ES/MS in your presentations - all I can see is an arbitrary line drawn on Green Level Church Road. How can you justify moving Cameron Pond, one of the closest neighborhoods to MPES/MPMS to Carpenter/Alston Ridge MS while assigning yet to be completed or existing neighborhoods much further away to MPES/MPMS? Where is the data to support this?

It is our sincerest hope that the WCPSS board will use proximity to schools, providing stability for children so that they can focus their energy on learning, the cost, time & length of bus routes, and school calendar impacts on families as main focus areas in school assignment decisions – all of these factors logically point to keeping Cameron Pond assigned to Mills Park ES and MS!!

30 Votes
 
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Binu Thomas 23 days ago

Matt Dees, Glenn, or Anyone from the assignment committee, Please answer my question above? I will keep my comments brief and succinct so that you can respond quickly. thank you

25 Votes
 
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Binu Thomas 23 days ago

Matt Dees, Glenn, and the assignment committee,

If your goal is removing capped schools, please read and consider this.

You've heard many of us state that Cameron Pond is an established community. Though this is certainly not the case for 100% of Cameron Pond families, my family and several families I've spoken to are not planning on growing our families. However new community developments (single family, town homes, apartments, over 260 units) that draft-2 has assigned to Mills Park, you can certainly expect to get an influx of new student applications to Mills Park Schools. Parents will choose those homes with the sole purpose of sending their children to Mills Park. This will certainly create continued capped schools, as well as overcrowding. This would result in WCPSS having to bus these students to multiple schools. Furthermore the continued yearly musical chairs of neighborhoods, disruptions to students as well as stress, wear and tear on the assignment committee.

Solution: Keep established neighborhoods such as Cameron Pond with the current assignment. New and proposed neighborhoods should be assigned to new schools or schools with capacity.

Resulting in uncapped schools, less over crowding, less under utilization, less student disruption, and operational efficiency. As families select their homes to purchase or rent, they will have clear understanding of their assignment. This is best for the community, school administrators/principals/teachers/volunteers, you the assignment committee and most importantly the students.

Thank you for reading.

33 Votes
 
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Miral Hassan 23 days ago

We moved to Cameron Pond in 2012 to avoid a year round calendar school that was reassigned to our previous address ( same issue, only 7 years ago ). My kids attended Farmington Woods Magnet School as a traditional alternative while waiting for their turn to join Mills Park - The amount of stress the proximity has put on our family was unbelievable. One of my kids spent average of an hour and half daily on the bus - Express busing time + 20 more minutes to get home each day. He couldn't participate in any sports activities on a regular base due to coming extremely late from school many times around 4:50pm ( knowing that school got out at 3 pm ) as a result of : Bus driver running late at another route prior to our route. Bus waiting for parents who were late to pick up their kids from another express stop. Bus breaking down -manytimes - specifically on the hwy etc. and multiple times we were called to pick our kids off a highway ( how safe is that compared to walking back home ? )

With that being said “ WE WAITED OUR TURN “ and once we got into Mills Park , our kids’ life has changed and they finally had stability after years being shuffled in WCPSS schools. I just can’t comprehend the logic of not only moving a well established and stable neighborhood but also changing the academic calendar for every single one of us. If there is any answer other than “ to accommodate the growth” I’d like to know. In my opinion, the more you try to handle the new construction by removing existing students to accommodate new home buyers ,the more you are encouraging the town and the builders to keep building without paying any attention to the school situation . Had the new home buyers been given those faraway or year round options, I doubt the new subdivisions will sell as fast as they do now in west cary specifically.
I fully support all the comments from my neighbors regarding the 4 pillars and request that the board considers the pillars and how they apply to Cameron Pond. Please consider the safety of our kids passing through two construction sites to get to school. Also, kindly consider the emotional and academic stability of our kids who are brokenhearted to even think that they could leave their 2nd home of Mills Park. Please look at us as families not just a line on a map . Thank you for your consideration. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

34 Votes
 
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Faryn Roy 23 days ago

My Cameron Pond neighbors have made each of my points below already, however, I'd still like to add my comment with a very simple summary of those that most resonate with me. - Cameron Pond families will go from a school at 118% percent utilization to 121% utilization. So not only are you suggesting uprooting this established neighborhood from a school that we've attended for years to a school that is further away and on a different calendar schedule, you are also sending us to a school that is more overcrowded than our current assignment? - The Greenway connecting Cameron Pond with Mills Park will allow our children to walk to school. There are very few students assigned to Mills Park that have this opportunity. Wouldn't it help to create operational efficiency to allow this Greenway to be utilized and reduce the number of students requiring bussing? This isn't even speaking to the major physical activity benefits for our children. - Bussing children from Cameron Pond to Carpenter Elementary requires a dangerous left turn from highway 55 onto Morrisville Parkway and crosses a railroad track. The school district should know the dangers of these unprotected left turns.

I hope that the staff and board members entrusted with this difficult yet very important responsibility, can look at the provided facts and ask themselves if this decision makes sense. Please reconsider this decision prior to releasing your next draft.

34 Votes
 
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Miral Hassan 22 days ago

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

pictures speak for our kids' right. Please reconsider the decision before you release draft 3.

31 Votes
 
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Kevin Mouillesseaux 22 days ago

To the Wake County School Board Members and Committee on Student Assignments: The assignment plan as it is currently (Phase 2) written does not align with your avowed aims of efficiency and student wellness for the children of Cameron Pond. I agree with all my neighbors' concerns about relocating our children away from Mills Park Schools to schools further away and more crowded. In addition to their compelling stories and arguments, I would like to add my own.

When I look out into my backyard, I see three things: old-growth trees, Interstate 540, and Mills Park Schools - even when those trees are leafed out in the Spring and Summer. Shortly after moving into our home at the South-West corner of Cameron Pond, we were informed that a Town of Cary Greenway easement laid claim to 10 feet all along my backyard property, and that the greenway was planned to lay asphalt directly abutting my property line. Having seen other, well-screened and recessed greenways throughout Cary, I was disappointed to know that this one would instead be an eye-sore. However, there was one point of solace: that my children would be able to safely, easily, and quickly be able to walk or ride the ~1/2 mile down the greenway to the schools that I could see from my backyard. However, in this current assignment plan, the Board has opted to ignore its supposed pillars in favor of putting my kids on a bus for 2 hours a day to a school that is more overcrowded than the one they are leaving. Perhaps you can enlighten our neighborhood on how that aligns with any of the pillars you claim are driving this decision. From our perspective, we cannot discern your logic. Please thoughtfully reconsider how your reassignment plan can better align to your stated goals for the children of Cameron Pond.

Respectfully and hopefully, Kevin Mouillesseaux

35 Votes
 
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Krissy Campbell 22 days ago

Almost three years ago, my husband and I made the hard decision to uproot our 3 children from Toronto, Canada to pursue my husbands career in Durham, NC. We left behind all of our family and friends and I walked away from my career as a respiratory therapist. Change is hard. However, through tears and much resistance, I was able to justify the move because it made sense for our future. A month and a half ago, I once again had to address the issue of change with my kids. Unfortunately this time, I could not justify a single argument that was used to make these decisions. Time and time again, I have clearly asked, "What pillar(s) justify the reassignment of Cameron Pond away from the Mills Park Schools?" Time and time again, no answer.
By approving draft 2 of the proposed reassignment, you are essentially saying: 1. Student safety is not a concern. 2. We do not support physical activity and resulting physiological and mental health benefits. 3. No one should feel "safe" when it comes to reassignment time, regardless of how many years they have attended that particular school. 4. Extracurricular activities are not important (as a result of unacceptable travel time). 5. Residents don't have a voice. I can only hope you soon realize for yourselves that this proposal, as it pertains to Cameron Pond, is wrong on so many levels. Respectfully, Krissy

35 Votes
 
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Kristen Lemke 22 days ago

I ask that you please reconsider moving Cameron Pond from Mills Park Elementary to Carpenter. It is hurtful to see that our neighborhood appears to be pushed out of MPE in favor of neighborhoods not yet in existence. Have the developers of these future neighborhoods contributed to the school in any way? Is it expected that the future neighborhoods will benefit Mills Park in such a way that it merits reassigning a neighborhood that has already contributed time and money to it? The president of the Mills Park PTA stated "I am the president of the Mills Park Elementary PTA, and I have seen firsthand the disproportionately high rate of support that these families give to MPE. They volunteer in higher numbers and for more positions than their share comparable to their enrollment numbers. CP students currently fill only 11.7% of our seats at MPE, yet CP parents make up 17.2% of our Room Parents, 2 out of 7 of our PTA board seats, and head up essential programs at MPE such as our Nourishing Noggins program to assist our economically disadvantaged students. They make up over 20% of our paid members and consistently support MPE in spirit wear sales, spirit night attendance, and donations to our school. Because they have been attending MPE since we opened our doors, the amount of knowledge about how the school operates and what needs to be done is invaluable and irreplaceable!"

I'm not sure that the parents in a new neighborhood would feel an allegiance or a responsibility toward Mills Park compared to our well established one. Also, a lot of us met the cap that had been in place requiring us to be residents since 2011. If the point of it was to send rising Kindergartners to other schools who moved in after 2011, then why are you trying to now put future neighborhoods at the school at existing students' expense? And it will be at their expense. As others have already stated, I do not see how moving existing students meets any of the four pillars. I am pleading for you to please reconsider.

32 Votes
 
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Anna Walters 22 days ago

First off, thank you for your commitment to Wake County Schools. We all understand this is a difficult task. I echo every comment above from my Cameron Pond neighbors. Keeping our students at Mills Park Elementary/Middle will be keeping your commitment to the pillars you set forth in student assignment decisions. We urge you to reconsider.

28 Votes
 
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Ming Liu 22 days ago

As a member of the Cameron Pond community, I strongly support comments from other community members. As a family, which is highly involved issues related to the planned green way (the entrance of the green way is on our property), we were told that the green way would enable our kids to walk to school safely every time when issues related to the green way is raised up. We were shocked when we realized that board members of the reassignment committee made the claim that the green way is for park only. Considering that the Cameron Pond Community and Mill Park schools are the only areas where the green way will connect to, it is very hard to agree with the board members.

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Cindy Johnson 22 days ago

I fully support the points made above by all of my neighbors in Cameron Pond in terms of proximity of our neighborhood to Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle schools. Keeping our students at MPE/MPM will be keeping your commitment to the pillars you set forth in student assignment decisions.

27 Votes
 
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Amy Holcomb 22 days ago

I am writing to express my disappointment that Draft 2 did not take into account Cameron Pond's feedback to KeepUsWhereWeAre. My neighbors have done an excellent job raising the many reasons why it makes sense to keep all of Cameron Pond at our currently assigned elementary and middle schools. Please take our concerns into consideration and revise Draft 3 accordingly.

29 Votes
 
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Abby Durden 22 days ago

I fully supports the many reasons my neighbors have made for keeping Cameron Pond assigned to Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle. I plead with the board to fully consider these as you are working on Draft 3. KeepUsWhereWeAre !

27 Votes
 
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Cristin Aldershof 22 days ago

Our family is still hoping for reconsideration during draft 3. We moved to CP two years ago and my youngest daughter has already been in two different elementary schools. If she is allowed to be grandfathered in she will be able to attend 5th grade at Mills Park, a traditional school calendar but she will then be moved to a year round school calendar which will not align with her older siblings. Her older sisters are both in high school, however attend two different schools because of capping issues. We were able to tolerate this issue but now having a 3rd child at a school that is not only further away and also be on a completely different schedule would really challenge us as family. In addition, while this may seem like a moot point I can say most people look back on their school days and feel such a sense of school pride, I fear our children will never experience this if they get bounced back and forth constantly. #keepuswhereweare #keepusconnected

29 Votes
 
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Leslie Cramer 22 days ago

Have the board members and the student assignment team taken any safety concerns into consideration? For both the Middle School and Elementary School, the bus routes to Carpenter Elementary School and Alston Ridge Middle will be substaintially more dangerous from Cameron Pond than to Mills Park Schools. With regular traffic that is true, but there are 2 major construction projects (one already well underway) directly impacting the travel route from Cameron Pond to Carpenter Elementary school. This endangers our kids to a higher level every single day and will for the next 5 years! Once the current project is complete, the second project, which is already approved and funded will widen the Carpenter Fire station road. Route 55 is a very busy road, especially in the mornings and making a blind left turn across Route 55 to get to Carpenter Elementary school will be very high risk. Please, please consider the lives of our children when you make these decisions. Safety needs to be a priority. #Keepuswhereweare

31 Votes
 
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Leslie Cramer 22 days ago

This is a specific response to the Dr. Jim Martin who questioned how much the greenway would actually get used and said the board couldn't make decisions based on 'mythical' assertions of walking to school. First, let me say, that I understand why you would question this. But I want to assure you that myself and many, many parents in Cameron Pond will use the Greenway as the primary mode to get our kids to and from school every day. For me personally, it is for 3 reasons. Exercise and environmental impact are important and I want to model that for my kids by using the Greenway for school transportation. But the biggest reason is that the bus takes 50 minutes to bring my son home every day. School is over at 3:45pm at Mills Park Elem, but he sits in his classroom watching TV for 30-35 minutes every day waiting for his bus to make its first route, then come back and pick him up. He is dropped off at the bus stop in Cameron Pond between 4:35 and 4:40. This is a huge waste of his time. Instead, I can walk to the school on the Greenway and "pick him up" on foot and we will be home by 4:00/4:10 at the latest. This is precious time in the afternoon to get homework done, go to sports practice or for him to just have a few minutes to play outside or with his beloved legos. Time he can just be a kid. I WILL USE THE GREENWAY EVERY DAY! I'll gladly sign a pledge of whatever proof you need to know this isn't a mythical idea. Please give me the opportunity to walk my kids to school and keep Cameron Pond at Mills Park Elm and Middle School. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

30 Votes
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Debra Mcnaughton 20 days ago

Well said Leslie. I know MANY families who have been anxiously awaiting the completion of this Greenway and therefore IT WILL BE UTILIZED!!

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Meena Agnihotri 21 days ago

As a long-time resident of Cameron Pond, I would like to echo all the concerns raised by my neighbors and implore the board to #keepuswhereweare. The importance of proximity, safety and community must not be overlooked.

28 Votes
 
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Jeanne Stockman 21 days ago

I urge you to reconsider the decision to move Cameron Pond from MPE and MPM to the year-round schools of Carpenter Elem and Alston Ridge Middle. Please keep us where we are. This proposed reassignment does not make sense for several reasons:

1.The taxpayer-funded greenway that will connect Cameron Pond to MPE and MPM. That greenway is a game-changer, bringing those schools even closer to us since the greenway is a literal shortcut through undeveloped land to those schools with no road to be crossed. Why render that use of taxpayer resources virtually useless by creating a road to nowhere?

2.The substantial disruption to the children that have attended these schools for the past 10 years. My oldest is in 9th grade at PCHS, I have twins in 6th grade at MPM. I've lived in my house for 11 years and my children have attended MPE and/or MPM for the past 10 years. My children have built connections to their friends in Cary Park, Greystone, Southbridge, and elsewhere over the past decade. This is our community, on the western side of 55. This is where we grocery shop, where we go to the gym, where we worship, where we go out for ice cream and where kids can ride bikes to meet up with friends. Much of that base is continuing at MPE and MPM, while this small subset of kids in Cameron Pond is being shuttled across 55 to entirely different schools where they have no connections and know no one. That is harmful and avoidable. There are plenty of new and newer neighborhoods with little to no vested interest in a particular school that lack the longstanding positive connection Cameron Pond has to MPE and MPM. Keep Cameron Pond part of its existing community. Newer neighborhoods should go to newer schools.

3.The lack of roads to cross 55, increasing traffic and risk of accidents. Carpenter Fire Station road no longer crosses 55 as of summer 2017. The eastern portion of Carpenter Fire Station is slated for construction in coming years. Morrisville Parkway does not cross 540. There are precious few ways to cross from the western side of 55 to the eastern side. Traffic backs up dangerously on 55 at the Morrisville Carpenter and Morrisville Parkway intersections because the turn lanes cannot accommodate all the traffic. This creates a safety issue that can be avoided by keeping Cameron Pond at its community schools on the western side of 55.

4.West Cary Middle is not a reasonable traditional school option for Cameron Pond. West Cary Middle is too far away and too disconnected from our community to be a reasonable traditional calendar option. My middle schoolers know no one there. I can't reasonably disrupt their lives by sending them to a lower-performing school where they know no one for 7th and 8th grade, and where very few of those West Cary students would be continuing on to Panther Creek High. That would hurt them not only for 7th and 8th grade, but for high school as well as they would miss the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with students they are reasonably likely to be in school with going forward. MPM should be the traditional calendar option for Alston Ridge Middle. In addition, the grandfathering policy should be extended to existing 6th graders so they can finish out their time at MPM and not have to go to 4 different schools in 5 years. Make MPM the traditional calendar option instead of West Cary.

5.Year-round calendars are more disruptive with older children and take away limited, valuable family time. Since at this point there is no reasonable traditional calendar option, I'm faced with the prospect of having to send my 2 middle schoolers to a year-round school. I have a high-schooler on a traditional calendar, and am painfully aware we have very limited time together as a family before she leaves for college. Now, 2 of those 3 years I'll have children on different calendars with no real summer for us all to be together. East Cary Middle was under-enrolled as a year-round school for good reason, at the middle-school level it is too disruptive to most families to be year-round. The grandfathering rules should be expanded so students with older siblings on a traditional calendar can finish out their time at MPM.

6.There are plenty of new residents moving to the area to fill new schools. Existing neighborhoods should stay at existing schools. Given the astronomical growth in this area, there will not be an issue filling new schools. New entrants do not have the same investment in existing schools that long-time residents do, and it causes harm to kids to be moved when they have been together in school for 7+ years. Please avoid causing this needless harm. There are alternatives that would accomplish the goal of filling the new schools while avoiding harm and disruption to the kids of Cameron Pond.

7.When you look at the large base area for MPM, it makes no sense to send Cameron Pond elsewhere. The base area of MPM extends from O'Kelly Chapel Rd to Route 64. Given the proximity of Cameron Pond to MPM, I fail to understand how other areas that are really far away from this core community are still included in MPM's base yet Cameron Pond is not. Reassigning areas near 64 to the newly opened Apex Friendship Middle, or areas near O'Kelly Chapel to Alston Ridge Middle, would make more sense. The greenway adds to this point, as no other neighborhood would have the direct, don't-have-to-cross-a-road-connection to MPM, yet Cameron Pond is being singled out as having to change from this safe, community-enhancing option and move to the other side of 55. If you haven't seen the greenway site and this area, please come visit our neighborhood so you can see why the current proposal doesn't make sense.

8.Assigning Cameron Pond makes Carpenter Elem more crowded than ever and does not improve over-crowding. Carpenter is an over-crowded school. In an effort to alleviate over-crowding, it makes no sense to move kids from one over-crowded school to another, especially when Carpenter Elem is even more over-crowded than MPE. Please reconsider.

I agree with the comments of my neighbors on this draft and in response to Draft 1. I know you have a tough job, but the decisions regarding Cameron Pond don't make sense when you consider the facts we are all raising. Keeping us where we are will better serve your goals and objectives than will moving us, and doing so will avoid needless harm and disruption to our children. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

29 Votes
 
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Christy King 21 days ago

Hi! My name is Christy King and I live on Magalloway Drive in Cameron Pond subdivision. I fully support the points made above by all of my neighbors in Cameron Pond in terms of proximity of our neighborhood to Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle Schools. We realize you all have a tough decision to make and we really appreciate your time and consideration when drafting version 3. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

27 Votes
 
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Kelly Krist 21 days ago

As a resident of Cameron Pond, it’s very disappointing to hear that our community is still being negatively affected by this proposal. We can literally see MPMS from our front porch and once the TOC greenway is complete, we’ll be able to walk to school without having to cross any major highways. To reassign our community, that is established and built out, to a different school but assign just built communities to be assigned to MPE or MPMS is illogical. Our community has a very good relationship with both schools as you know from the PTA presidents comments. To send our community to a school 7 miles away while I can see our current school from my front porch is ridiculous. WCPSS - please reconsider keeping children in Cameron Pond at the closest schools to us - MPE and MPMS. #keepuswhereweare.

28 Votes
 
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Zachary Hartman 21 days ago

I agree with all of my CP neighbors regarding the four primary reasons why it does not make sense to re-district our neighborhood away from Mills Park (most obviously the greenway linking our neighborhood directly at taxpayer expense, the proximity of our neighborhood to MP in comparison to newer developments that are being constructed, the traffic and accidents on 55 caused by construction, and our commitment to Mills Park). In light of past statements, it really doesn't make sense to have a funded greenway connecting us to a school that we cannot attend, right? While I realize that overcrowding is a significant issue in Wake county, I think it makes most sense to keep close neighborhoods in their respective schools and reapportion newer more distant developments to newer schools, as an easier means (on students, parents, and teachers) of tackling overcrowding in schools. Thus, I’d ask you to kindly consider not forcing another change on families at MP and keep us where we are in Mills Park. Thank you! #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

28 Votes
 
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Miral Hassan 21 days ago

keepuswhereweare

Attachments: IMG_6441.PNG
27 Votes
 
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Geetika Gupta 21 days ago

As a long term resident of Cameron Pond I agree with all the concerns raised by my neighbors. I will strongly urge board to reconsider their proposal for moving Cameron pond to carpenter elementary and Alston ridge middle. I was really looking forward to use the greenway to walk our kids to school. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

26 Votes
 
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Yan Tang 21 days ago

As a member of Cameron pond community, I fully support all my friends' request. Please keep our established neighborhood to where we are. Please consider all the kids your decision will impact. our kids deserve to be in their current school, where our family already supported for years. Keepuswhereweare!

25 Votes
 
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Nedal Safwat 21 days ago

After listening to the board meeting reviewing draft 1, I would appreciate it if the board is able to address and consider the following:

Safety Concerns: • Wake County School Reassignment board emphasized the importance of safety for all students. Reassignment of Cameron Pond students changes from current route using side streets leading to school to a dramatic change of having students driven across a major highway 55. The ability of students to even consider walking to school is eliminated. This means longer bus rides adding more burden on the families and students in the meantime increasing the cost of drivers time and gasoline.
• Between the greenway being built connecting Cameron Pond to Mills Park Elementary/Mills Park Middle and the ability to utilize Fire Carpenter Station Road and Green Level Church Road to walk to school, the Cameron Pond community has safe options to transport their kids to schools. If there is a change to Carpenter Elementary, the Cameron Pond community has a significantly less safer route to school for school buses, driving parents, and kids walking. It is important to see how many kids from Cameron Pond actually end up walking home from Mills Park Middle every Friday with their peers to mark the end of the week. I urge the members to join us for a walk or to observe the walk on a Friday afternoon from Mills Park Elementary/Mills Park Middle to Cameron Pond. • According to the Town of Cary, the purpose of the greenway is “Linking our neighborhoods with parks, schools, community centers, and other neighborhoods.” So if there is any doubt in what the Town of Cary is building for our community, then it should be addressed directly between the Wake County Public School System and Town of Cary. There are millions being spent on projects like this greenway, so it is important to ensure that there is a connection between the two entities. Therefore, we kindly ask the board members to re-consider the purpose of the greenway and also the impact of re-assigning Cameron Pond. • According to the Town of Cary, safety is not a concern as outline on their plan “Children will be able to safely bicycle and walk to school from their neighborhoods on the greenway system.” • If there is a concern with the utilization of the greenway, then the answer is quite simple. Delay the reassignment until there is data backing up the utilization of the greenway. At this stage it is only assumptions that are causing a major decision. Established Residents and Neighborhoods: • It was noted in the meeting that seniority of the neighborhood should be taken into account. In my case, I have been in Cary for 28 years, and specifically in Cameron Pond for 7 years. Why do you need to put my family and kids through the pains and stress of transferring schools that impact our current traditional calendar schedule and also proximity. This makes me loose the faith in the public school system, as I don’t even have faith that my kids would be re-assigned every 3 years to accommodate new comers.
• In talking with a number of people from out of state and other counties, it is a general rule that existing residents keep their assignment, while new residents would be re-assigned if the schools are capped. • Finally, the main attention during the meeting was on removing the capping from schools. I request to the Wake County Board to consider the four pillars and emphasize those pillars when thinking about Cameron Pond neighborhood.

27 Votes
 
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Mia Bashir 21 days ago

The proposed solution will not work for our community. Let's come up with alternatives!!! Do what's right! #KeepUsWhereWeAre!

24 Votes
 
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Richard Berman 21 days ago

I am writing to support the Cameron Pond community's request to have their children continue to attend Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle schools. The community has done an excellent job in setting out the reasons why the proposed re-assignment for this neighborhood is not the best way to proceed. Draft 3 should be revised as requested by the Cameron Pond community.

26 Votes
 
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Munish Gupta 21 days ago

I could not agree more with all the comments posted by Cameron pond residents . We request WCPSS to be more pragmatic with their approach and reconsider draft 2 that has missed some very important factors that are in everyone’s interest . There cannot be any reasonable argument that can make an option of a short pleasant walk for kids to school today inferior to the proposed plan in draft 2 that’s inefficient , unsafe and disrupts an existing neighborhood significantly!

27 Votes
 
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Eric Li 21 days ago

My whole family was very disappointed to find out that draft 2 didn't revert its decision and still wanted to move already established student-parent-school communities out of MPE and MPM. We totally agree with our fellow Cameron Pond community's comments on 4 pillars and how keeping us where we are strongly support each and every single pillar, which the Wake county school board and district staff must rely on to make reassignment decision. We just want to quickly comment on Proximity and Stability based on our personal experience. Our daughter, Danielle, had to spend almost an hour each way on the school bus to Weatherstone ES as 2nd grader because MPE was capped. She couldn't keep her eyes open and lacked energy finishing her homework or assignment. Not only was she always physically and mentally exhausted, but also we were very concerned about her safety due to the extended long period of bus ride. Given the current draft 2 proposal, the options for traditional calendar are West Cary MS and Weatherstone ES, where West Cary is located even further away. We don't believe this is an equivalent or acceptable option to our current situation where we know it takes 10 minutes to safely transport CP students to MPE/MPM. Two hours of bus ride per day is undoubtedly against Proximity and Stability. Please reconsider and #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE.

28 Votes
 
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Tracy Hofmann 21 days ago

I am writing to request the Cameron Pond community remains assigned to Mills Park Elementary and Middle schools. Please review the feedback the neighborhood has provided when reviewing Draft 3. We appreciate your time and consideration.

28 Votes
 
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Mustafa Bashir 21 days ago

We moved to Cary in 2010 in large part for the public schools, and to Cameron Pond specifically for Mills Park Elementary and Middle schools. Now, our two oldest kids are in MPE but with the threat of being redistricted to another school.

Shortly after we moved to Cary, there was a shakeup in WCPSS with kids reassigned from their base schools, bussing changes, and a lot of shake-ups. Many people were unhappy. At the time we thought “thanks goodness that’s over and we won’t be directly affected”. And now, here we are.

Moving kids around like this sends a bad message to incoming families. Those of us who have been here get moved, while positions at our schools are held for new families; in a few years, those new families may be in our position, being moved around to make room for even newer folks.

I understand that the overcrowding situation puts WCPSS in a tough position. The basic problem is that more homes and neighborhoods are opening up than Cary has infrastructure for. Nonetheless, shuffling kids around at a time in their lives when they need stability is a bad way to handle it. This is particularly true when thoughtful plans like the greenway connecting Cameron Pond with the Mills Park schools are being put in place.

Please let our kids stay at their schools. #keepuswhereweare

27 Votes
 
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Kevin Younge 21 days ago

Below message was sent to school board officials on September 30 as a follow-up--

Dear Mrs. Christine Kushner and colleagues-

We understand the growth in Western Cary provides a unique challenge to school assignment. In follow-up to my original letter on September 19 focusing on the proximity of the Cameron Pond neighborhood with the Panther Creek greenway, I'd like to address a few additional points. These points lead me to the conclusion that these issues are complex, and Mr. Glenn Carrozza and the school board owe the community a long-term sustainable plan for managing this growth prior to reassigning established neighborhoods like Cameron Pond.

1) New developments are pushing out established neighborhoods.

•During the September 18th school board working session there was discussion related to the impact of new developments to the stability of established neighborhoods. It seemed neither the board nor Mr. Carrozza had aligned on views to assess such situations in regard to student assignment.

•The proposed 2019/2020 Mills Park MS base includes many new developments with the vast majority being homes that cost 2 to 3 times the average for Wake County and with developers promoting proximity to Mills Park Schools. These actions may have unintended socioeconomic consequences that will have negative impacts on all four pillars in future years.

•Mr. Carrozza and the school board owe the community a transparent clear policy approach on new developments and which the community has opportunity to provide feedback. We personally disagree with the currently proposed methodology to include future developments in capacity projections to justify reassigning established neighborhoods like Cameron Pond. The Draft 2 assignment plan has the appearance of moving our children to a new, more crowded school, while benefiting a high performing school in one of the most affluent areas in Wake county.

2) Rapid growth in Western Cary necessitates an evaluation of all options on a reasonable cadence, including a calendar change.

•During the September 18 working session, we heard board members question why and also express regret that Mills Park schools are not year-round.

•The September 21st assignment FAQ tries to address the question of a multitrack option with the response that this was considered in 2014 with negative parent feedback. We personally find this FAQ response unacceptable. The area has experienced significant growth in the last four years. There is an obligation to regularly review the most sustainable options to meet all 4 pillars, especially in high growth areas. An analysis on all options is a critical part of a good long-term sustainable plan for the area.

If it is now too late as the September 21st FAQ suggests in the process to provide the community a sustainable long-term plan contemplating all options to manage growth and overcrowding at Mills Park ES / MS, the board must delay reassigning established neighborhoods. Making one-off moves now is a loss on all 4 pillars for our children and the community for years to come.

We understand that there are many factors that the school board needs to consider when making the assignment plans, but we might be more understanding if the board could offer any explanation as to how the current proposal adheres to any of the pillars for our children. You are asking us to move to a more overcrowded, lower-performing school that is further away, not walkable, has less continuity with the middle school and high schools, and a less desirable calendar.

Thank you for your consideration,

27 Votes
 
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Diane Brodersen 21 days ago

While growth continues to happen in our area, the district has to do a better job of not continuing to uproot kids from one school to the next as a temporary bandaid to filling holes at each school. Cameron Pond has been on the traditional calendar for years and not only does the board want to change the calendar from traditional to year round but you want to remove the Cameron Pond neighborhood from the elementary and middle school that the neighborhood will have direct access to through a Town of Cary greenway. You are not moving our kids to schools that are less crowded or closer, instead your proposed move makes the new year round schools even more crowded and are much further away and our kids can’t walk to them. I understand there is growth, but why move an established neighborhood like Cameron Pond so you can hold seats for neighborhoods that are just being built and are further away from the Mills Park schools.

27 Votes
 
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Jessica Hartman 21 days ago

I won’t belabor the points that have already been made eloquently by my Cameron Pond neighbors. But I want to weigh in with my agreement with all of the reasons stated (proximity, the Greenway access). I remain optimistic that the WCPSS board will listen to our feedback and adjust draft 3 to account for these considerations. #keepuswhereweare

22 Votes
 
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Ryan Simper 21 days ago

It's disappointing that no changes were made from Draft One to Draft Two with respect to the MPE/MPM reassignments, particularly with so many elements that support a change. I understand that reassignments are necessary, but I challenge you to think of a reassignment decision of this size that has ignored the presence of a town and community asset like the Panther Creek Greenway.

On paper, it's easy to take Google Maps and to compare the distance from Cameron Pond to Mills Park with the distance from Cameron Pond to Carpenter and to reach a conclusion that they are similar enough for it to not matter. But what this ignores is the Greenway. Most arguments made by neighborhoods being reassigned focus on property values, on proximity, and on stability, but very few if any of them have in their favor a direct connection where kids can walk and bike to school with ZERO crossings, ZERO intersections, and along ZERO busy streets. This is a rare and enviable asset of the Cameron Pond community, and one that would be an absolute tragedy to ignore in the assignment process.

While I understand why board members have cast doubt on how much this connector would be used, I can assure you that it would be heavily used, which both promotes the wellness and activity of our children AND reduces the burden on the WCPSS bussing system.

I'll be honest, when we first heard about the Greenway, I was skeptical...I thought it would be a long way, or it would be some kind of ratty path through the woods. Then I went and saw it for myself. It's truly impressive. Wood, concrete, wide, well-built, and visually attractive. And most of all, close. Like amazingly close.

How close? Attached are a few photos I took with my drone that shows exactly how close Mills Park and Cameron Pond are in actuality - we're talking a sub 5 minute walk here. I was literally shocked at how close Cameron Pond is to Mills Park with this connector. SO CLOSE.

Please see the video I've posted here too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2xwxcqJy7M

Obviously, the path is a bit overgrown at the moment as construction has not yet begun, but remember that this is an approved, permitted, certain-to-be-built connector, not a proposal for the future. It's funded, it's coming.

There are other extremely valid arguments about the traffic and increased risk in having our route to school cross 55, particularly with all the construction going on, and those alone are worth a change in the proposal, but the Greenway to me is the kicker.

I understand why Draft One made the choices it did, and I even understand why Draft Two remained the same if it was done with the caveat that the Committee was considering information presented. My hope is that after considering the information presented, that Draft Three will make the proper call.

It's rare in this county that you have a community that is fully built out, established, and in a walk-radius to both an elementary and middle school, and that the walk doesn't require crossing any streets. That's both rare and special, and having Cameron Pond at Mills Park does a few important things: - It creates a significant benefit to our community with walkable schools - It honors the investment in the Greenway by the Town of Cary - It honors the pillars of WCPSS - It saves WCPSS money in the form of reduced bussing requirements - It keeps students out of danger by reducing the number that must be transferred to school across a major road - It shows that the committee is open-minded and willing to listen to sound arguments as they devise a plan

All of this without cost or impact to WCPSS. Yes, reassignment is a necessary part of growth, but please don't reassign the one neighborhood who has a direct, unintersected, car-less connection to their schools. Please #keepuswhereweare

26 Votes
 
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Balu Ambady 21 days ago

Hello WCPSS, please consider feedback from the Cameron Pond community to keep the community kids at MPES/MPM to allow them proximity to their school, as well as easy access via the (future) Greenway. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

23 Votes
 
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John Nardiello 21 days ago

The salient points of this discussion have been adequately addressed by my neighbors in Cameron Pond, so I will not belabor the details. Suffice it to say, the reassignment plan for both MPE and MPMS is outrageous and must be reconsidered. Aside from the aforementioned negative effects on Cameron Pond students, I will stress that the reassignment plan will be injurious to the sense of community we have worked so hard to create in our neighborhood. Having stable, established schools where neighborhood friends and subsequent siblings can share common experiences is vital to the overall health and prosperity of a community. These communal bonds are incredibly important to childhood development, as well as the long-term success of an established neighborhood. The families of Cameron Pond have spent years waiting for “their turn” to be assigned to schools that most of us can hit with the toss of a stone from our yards. These families have also devoted much of their personal resources and time to both MPE and MPMS over the years. To have our students reassigned elsewhere is both immoral and fiduciarily irresponsible.

22 Votes
 
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Fei Yao 21 days ago

To WCPSS Board members: Thanks my neighbors' salient points. There is no need to repeat what has been said, but I'd like to add few things really important to my family and the community.

Cameron Pond Community is a matured community with kids in various grades at Mills Park, it doesn't make sense to remove a matured community in light of new communities around the school district. The new community should and need to be strategically built and moved to different schools, if any. Secondly, families at Cameron Pond have devoted much of time, energy, and resources for Mills Park for years and we are part of the Mills Park family already. Should those long term commitment be rewarded for kids staying there? Is this a big ask?

23 Votes
 
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Kirk Goldman 21 days ago

Dear WSPSS Reassignment Committee Members-

It's unlikely at this time that new points can be added to a persuasive argument. It just requires fair consideration. As you so so,I would like to you to think deeply about the safety of our children. Heading east on Carpenter Fire Station Road with bus loads of elementary school children will be dangerous for several years. The intersection of highway 55 and Carpenter Fire Station is already under construction. As the first project completes in 2021/2022 a second, potentially more hazardous one will begin... the widening of Carpenter Fire Station between Cameron Pond and Highway 55. This will start in 2022 and will no doubt make passage along Carpenter Fire Station substantially more difficult if not impassible until it's completion. If that became the case, the students from Cameron Pond would have to be bussed around further to get to elementary school... perhaps taking them by Mills Park. There is also no sidewalk between Cameron Pond and Carpenter Elementary until you reach the section of Morrisville Parkway immediately before the elementary school...meaning our children will not ever be able to walk to school... a key pillar of WCPSS.

I ask that you consider the solution that actually has the least impact on school over crowding. I ask that you consider the rights of current Wake County Residents and WCPSS students over those who will be in houses and neighborhoods that are yet to be built.

keepuswhereweare

Thank you.

26 Votes
 
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Weiwei Wang 21 days ago

As a resident of Cameron Pond, I was very disappointed (again) to see that no change has been made in Draft 2 proposal. I do not think any of the pillars has been justified for the reassignment of Cameron Pond to Carpenter Elementary School and Alston Ridge Middle School. Please reconsider your decisions and keep our children in their current schools.

23 Votes
 
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Matt Gredvig 21 days ago

I support the concerns that many of my neighbors from Cameron Pond have raised regarding the plans to change our schools. Our neighborhood is still seeking answers about how the 4 pillars of WCPSS Board Policy 4150 apply to moving our neighborhood.

The plan doesn’t provide stability for our neighborhood as we are changing schools and calendars.

Proximity is not the reason for moving us as the new greenway will make our neighborhood one of the closest to Mills Park from a walking / biking perspective. Our children will not have the option to walk or bike to Carpenter Elementary and Alston Ridge Middle.

Moving our children to schools that are further away has a negative impact on operational efficiency. The children in our neighborhood will have the ability to safely walk/bike to MPE/MPMS instead of sitting in traffic waiting to get to a school further away. This is especially true for anyone who tries to stay on a traditional calendar instead of year round given how far away our traditional options are. Also, having more children walking / biking to Mills Park will improve operational efficiency by reducing the carpool lines at Mills Park.

Slide 9 of the current draft proposal shows that Carpenter Elementary would be more crowded than Mills Park in 2021 - 2022 after the changes are made. If trailers were used, Carpenter would be the most crowded of the 6 schools listed (Alston Ridge, Cedar Fork, Mills Park, Morrisville, Carpenter, and Parkside) at 121%. The other schools would be in a range from 93% - 114%, so while they may see significant achievement benefits from having reduced overcrowding, Carpenter would not see as many benefits. Given the academic proficiency numbers on slide 9, how does making Mills Park less crowded than Carpenter help student achievement?

Does the capacity forecast for Carpenter Elementary include all of the following future developments that are in its footprint? It seems like there is a lot of focus on the development occurring west of 540, but there is a significant amount of new development in the area zoned for Carpenter Elementary as well, potentially even more than in the footprint of Mills Park Elementary.

Savaan: 298 units (homes / condos / townhomes)

Franklin Park at Carpenter Village: 55 units

Wackena Hills: 113 homes

Also, could WCPSS include the capacity forecasts for all schools as an appendix to the drafts, as opposed to only including the capacity information for impacted schools? This would help families better understand how crowded their school is to all schools nearby, not just a few.

Thank you for your consideration of our comments and concerns.

23 Votes
 
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Scott Lemke 21 days ago

After participating in the fun run this week to benefit Mills Park Elementary and get new playground equipment, my 1st grader had several questions:

Will I be going to a new school that is as good or better than Mills Park? Why do they [referring to the assignment committee and school board] like to scare kids?

She had been very excited about getting new playground equipment and having done something to make her school better.

23 Votes
 
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Fan Zhang 21 days ago

Dear WSPSS School Board Members, the salient points of this discussion have been addressed by my neighbors in Cameron Pond adequately so I don't want to repeat all the details. I do want to express my extreme disappointment after draft 2 came out with no change made, and my increasing concern about the safety of our children as I drive to work every day with partly the same route of carpenter fire station route and highway 55. I totally agree with all the points my CP neighbors made above and want to mention specifically about one poster saying perhaps one of the most disheartening aspects in all of this is the assignment of brand new neighborhoods with no history or ties to a school over the established, existing neighborhoods in closer proximity and with strong ties to a school. Just last week I had watched with my own eyes how my son and his friends finished his fun run in MPE, all exhausted yet proudly. We pledged several hundred dollar which might not be a big amount but it came from every family member, relatives and my boy's own effort. He was so proud that he can help his own school and I do not want to see the day to ever come when I have to tell him that it might not be his school anymore and that he might never get to play in that playground build with part of his effort in it. Please #keepuswhereweare

24 Votes
 
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Natalie Ortiz 21 days ago

As all of my Cameron Pond neighbors have already eloquently expressed the many reasons to keep us at Mills Park, I will keep my comment short. We hope that you take all of these reasons into consideration and I remain optimistic that Wake County will follow their own pillars when considering our assignment in the next draft and keep us at Mills Park. We do appreciate all of the hard work that goes into this!

22 Votes
 
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Scott Lemke 21 days ago

After watching the YouTube video of the reassignment working session, I have several questions and comments of my own. Why does the school board consider the panther creek greenway to be proposed instead of under construction or ready for construction? According to communications from the town of cary, the contract was to be signed with last minute updates several weeks ago. The choice of words makes it sound like the greenway is much further out and less likely to happen than we have been told. Do you have other information on the greenway you would like to share?

Second, Bill Fletcher brought up the issue of greenway safety, apparently questioning the safety of the greenway. If he or other members of the board had read any of the information provided from the neighborhood in their packets or this message board, they would be aware that the approved greenway crosses no roads to get to mills park and the adjacent schools. As someone who plans to use the greenway, what information does he have to even question the safety? Making a left turn from highway 55, potentially needing to wait in the travel lane of the highway to make said turn is far more dangerous.

Third, it was mentioned that busing would still need to be provided with the greenway walking route. What rule does this fall under? In revision 2 of the draft, families seeking a traditional calendar option instead of the new year round parkside school could apply to Pleasant Grove without transportation. This appears to conflict with statements made during the working session.

It was asked by members of the board how far is too far to walk to school. And stated that just because a greenway connects a neighborhood to a school does not mean they should be assigned to it. For me, it is when the travel time by vehicle including time to wait for the bus, wait at school for class to start, and actual drive time are less than the time to walk or bike. With 10 minutes to wait for the bus, a 10 minute bus ride, and a 30 minute wait for school to start, I can easily walk the 0.8 miles from my house to MPE in less time with my kids. They are used to making a 1.0 mile round trip to the neighborhood pool and back.

23 Votes
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Miral Hassan 21 days ago

Absolutely agree with your points specifically Mr. Fletcher's questioning of the safety of the greenway while agreeing with the proposal that the kids should pass through two construction sites and a railroad track daily to go to school.

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Aaron Franklin 21 days ago

In my response to Draft 1, I mentioned the difficulties my family has experienced in our 4-year journey through WCPSS schools. Rather than repeating that history, I'll present a new request.

There have already been many compelling points made for keeping the Cameron Pond neighborhood in the Mills Park schools. Allow me to offer one more: COMMON SENSE. I know, I know; what room does such a rare artifact have on the political stage? Unfortunately, typically it has none. It turns out that even local politics are charged with sufficient bureaucracy so as to minimize common sense. Note that the definition of bureaucratic is "overly concerned with procedure at the expense of efficiency or common sense."

So, my request is this: Buck the trend. Don't be blinded by limited projections or ill-fitting comparisons. See us -- the people. Hear what we are saying -- the perspectives are many and varied, yet the message is consistent. Make room for common sense in your considerations. Take more than a passing look at the map showing the greenway connecting Cameron Pond to the Mills Park schools. For a moment, forget that you are involved in this process. Forget that you are looking at a map of a neighborhood in Cary or a school that you have any jurisdiction for. Now pretend someone tells you a story about this neighborhood in the picture and how it was stripped from attending that school just a walkway away. When you hear this, you should say exactly what anyone would, "Wait, that doesn't make any sense!" And you'd be right, as it lacks all common sense. Don't let your political conquests and experience consume that wonderfully simple gift of common sense.

There's no question that you are good people; the folks drafting these boundaries, the school board members, the city council and mayor -- all seem to be terrific, stand-up people. But even the best of people can become consumed by the fog of bureaucracy, which leads to a tendency to forget about the citizens, their lives, their patience, their sacrifices, and their neighborhood's walking path that connects them to two schools at a distance of just over two laps around a track. Common sense . . . that's all I'm asking for.

keepuswhereweare

cpforcommonsense

22 Votes
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Krissy Campbell 21 days ago

Love this! I can't even tell you how many people I've told our reassignment story to and their response is: "That makes no sense!"

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guang hu 21 days ago

Agree with all that has been said. Sincerely hopr that the school board will consider the irrefutable arguments put forward by the Cameron Pond residents for the next draft of school assignment. keepuswhereweare!

22 Votes
 
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Dale Martin 21 days ago

I am a resident of Cameron Pond and there is not much left to say about why we should remain at Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle School. As a neighborhood we have expressed our concerns for being moved out of our current schools and have given valid reasons for why we should be allowed to stay. Please take our arguments into consideration for the next draft of the school assignment plan and put us back at our current elementary school and middle school.

21 Votes
 
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Krissy Campbell 21 days ago

KeepUsWhereWeAre

PleaseLetUsGo

Attachments: Mills_Park_Signs.pdf
20 Votes
 
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Rekha Upadhya 21 days ago

KeepUsWhereWeAre

I would like to reiterate the serious concerns what rest of my Cameron Pond community members have shared regarding school change. When we decided to move to this community several years ago, the one compelling reason for us to choose this community was the Mills Park School was the base school. Mills Park was the traditional school close to the proximity and considered one of the best schools in the regions. We knew that County would have the greenway to school ready in few years and would work so well for us and the kids. Kids are being attached to the school and teachers and now the news of transition has shocked us and the kids. It will be extremely disappointing for us and the kids if the school changes, it will feel that our life changing choice of choosing this community is futile. Change in style of learning traditional vs year around decision has been forcefully brought on kids! Kids will be completely devastated to the changes as they are emotionally and mentally attached to the school and the teachers. Wake County School Board, kindly reconsider the decision and make changes so it impacts the families in a minimal way. Please take in to account the emotional turmoil of what families will have to go through by the decisions you make.

19 Votes
 
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Kathryn Berman 21 days ago

I agree with the many well-stated previous comments made by the residents of Cameron Pond. The students of Mills Park ES and MS who reside in Cameron Pond should be allowed to continue to attend the Mills Park schools. This is an established community, which will be connected to the schools by the future Greenway. The area neighborhoods under construction will not have this feature. Please allow the Cameron Pond students to continue attending their neighborhood school. The reasons for keeping this neighborhood in the Mills Park schools are many and very compelling. Please take these reasons under consideration as you prepare Draft 3.

18 Votes
 
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Tom Ju 21 days ago

Keep Cameron Pond assigned to Mills Park!

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

19 Votes
 
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Rekha Upadhya 21 days ago

I am a resident of Cameron Pond for more than 10 years. As a parent of a child attending middle school, I am deeply concerned about the impact of changing from traditional to Year-Around school. As we plan well in advance for summer programs so the time can be well spent either with family or in a 2-3 month continuous learning program which is very much essential socially and academically for growing kids and it helps families spend quality time together due to the long break. However switching to a Year-around will simply take away all the benefits and will require a long adjustment period for families, adding to the stress levels of kids and families. Any alternative option of traditional other than Mills Park will not work either due to the added time spent on road getting to/from school. It would only add to the stress of the children and reduce the productivity and performance of the school. Utilizing the GREENWAY by the kids to go to school is not only beneficial to the health of the children but in turn will support the wake county core goals of stability and Operation Efficiency. Not to mention the other benefits of transportation reduction for wake county. Kindly request board to reconsider their decision, please let the kids continue what they already have. Let us not add to their stress, while they already have enough challenges to face with learning every day.

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

18 Votes
 
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Alison Regan 20 days ago

I am a resident of Cameron Pond North. Whether we live on the North or South side of the neighborhood, we all want one thing. To allow our children to remain in the schools where we are currently assigned. I agree with all my neighbors and their thoughtful reasons presented to the school board to #KeepsUsWhereWeAre, and #PleaseLetUsGo.

Please take our arguments into consideration for the next draft of the school assignment plan and put us back at our current elementary school and middle school.

Also, please reconsider the WCPSS grandfathering policy as it has a major impact on many children throughout the school system. Please consider reverting back to allowing 4th/5th and 7th/8th graders to stay at their currently assigned schools. Natural transitions from elementary to middle and from middle to high school are hard enough. Please don't make our children suffer through involuntary transitioning out of schools where they are thriving.

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

Thank you!

19 Votes
 
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Seth Parker 20 days ago

It is a well-known fact that WCPSS has serious transportation issues. Schools have multiple "double back" bus routes on buses that are already over-crowded. It takes some kids 45-60 minutes to get home from schools that are within just a few miles of their house. This is due to the fact a bus must complete a full bus route before it "doubles back" to pick up it’s next group of kids. Additionally, children on these routes are required to ride THREE to a seat to get everyone on the bus! Three to a seat is hard enough for elementary age kids, yet larger middle school age children are required to ride in the same fashion!

I therefore find it surprising that the Board would elect to remove a neighborhood like Cameron Pond which will have such a clear and direct walking path to both an elementary and middle school.

The greenway that is under construction between Mills Park and Cameron Pond would most certainly alleviate some of the overcrowding on buses for those schools since many of the children and parents would elect to walk instead of riding the bus.

I know at the last board meeting several members had doubts as to how many parents/student from Cameron Pond would actually use the greenway as a means to get to school. It was mentioned that “Highcroft is one of most walkable schools, and it’s carpool line is very long…”

This is not a fair comparison. Highcroft is ONLY an elementary school, and it is located within a neighborhood. I can’t think of many parents of elementary school aged children who would feel comfortable allowing their child to cross streets and walk to school on their own, no matter how close. The Cameron Pond greenway crosses NO STREETS and is a direct connection to Mills Park. Additionally, the Cameron Pond greenway would not only be a connection to an elementary school, but a middle school as well, and therefore extremely likely to be utilized by the older aged children.

Keeping Cameron Pond in the Mills Park Schools is a win-win for all parties involved. WCPSS gets to reduce the amount of kids on Mills Park buses, and Cameron Pond gets to stay in schools that are close, walkable, and where we have already spent so much time developing relationships and partnerships with staff and other parents.

Please reconsider your reassignment of Cameron Pond and #keepuswhereweare.

19 Votes
 
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Emilia Peytcheva 20 days ago

I want to express my support for my Cameron Pond neighbors and deep disappointment of Draft 2. Instead of reiterating all the points my neighbors have made, I want to ask the board to read carefully all comments and let us know why they are giving priority to future neighborhoods while kicking Cameron Pond out of our neighborhood schools? Isn't the purpose of all new schools to accommodate new neighborhoods? KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

18 Votes
 
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Nipuna Senaviratna 20 days ago

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

It’s a shame that all the feedback for draft 1 went to deaf ears and cos WCPSS did not have time to review them. I hope that’s not going to happen again.

commonsense #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

17 Votes
 
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Tracy St Clair 20 days ago

Wake county is a wonderful place to live. I've lived here 20 years, and I have never taken it for granted. I feel it is a privilege to live here, and I think many of my neighbors would agree. Unfortunately, the secret is out and the influx of new families is overwhelming. Every few years, y'all have a daunting task ahead of you......school reassignment. I appreciate the task at hand, and wouldn't want to walk in your shoes. Where do you put all these new children? Please consider the following--don't put them in OUR school and kick us out. #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE and please find a different resolution for the next draft. The proximity of Cameron Pond to MMES and MPMS is closer than most any other neighborhood to it's base school. The accessibility to both MMES and MPMS via the tax-payer funded Greenway, strengthens the argument that Cameron Pond should remain at their current schools. We can walk our children to school! Please reconsider your proposal. A lot of what you are proposing makes sense, this however, does not. Thank you for your reconsideration. #keepuswhereweare

16 Votes
 
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Miral Hassan 20 days ago

This is a map made by Cameron Pond. It is based on the interactive map on the Town of Cary website that shows new construction that has been approved. If we have all the blanks filled in correctly, it looks like there are more than 1500 new homes/townhomes/apartments approved in the Mills Park Middle boundaries. This is crazy that you would kick us out to accommodate all of this new growth. We are a small neighborhood with about 70 middle school kids (we are still trying to get exact numbers from your office) and we are told from the elementary school there are only 107 Cameron Pond kids currently there with numbers going down next year. Our neighborhood is completely built out and will not have any more construction and we will have the greenway allowing the kids to get to school quickly and safely. Unlike other neighborhoods that are built one phase after the next always adding students year after year to the school, we will not be adding additional growth so WE ACTUALLY ADD STABILITY TO MILLS PARK SCHOOLS! Please zone the new neighborhoods for the other schools you are suggesting for us. They can all begin at a new school as a community and from the sizes of some of these neighboring developments they could actually fill a school. #Keep us where we are

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15 Votes
 
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Nedal Safwat 20 days ago

After listening to the board meeting reviewing draft 1, I would appreciate it if the board is able to address and consider the following:

Safety Concerns: • Wake County School Reassignment board emphasized the importance of safety for all students. Reassignment of Cameron Pond students changes from current route using side streets leading to school to a dramatic change of having students driven across a major highway 55. The ability of students to even consider walking to school is eliminated. This means longer bus rides adding more burden on the families and students in the meantime increasing the cost of drivers time and gasoline.
• Between the greenway being built connecting Cameron Pond to Mills Park Elementary/Mills Park Middle and the ability to utilize Fire Carpenter Station Road and Green Level Church Road to walk to school, the Cameron Pond community has safe options to transport their kids to schools. If there is a change to Carpenter Elementary, the Cameron Pond community has a significantly less safer route to school for school buses, driving parents, and kids walking. It is important to see how many kids from Cameron Pond actually end up walking home from Mills Park Middle every Friday with their peers to mark the end of the week. I urge the members to join us for a walk or to observe the walk on a Friday afternoon from Mills Park Elementary/Mills Park Middle to Cameron Pond. • According to the Town of Cary, the purpose of the greenway is “Linking our neighborhoods with parks, schools, community centers, and other neighborhoods.” So if there is any doubt in what the Town of Cary is building for our community, then it should be addressed directly between the Wake County Public School System and Town of Cary. There are millions being spent on projects like this greenway, so it is important to ensure that there is a connection between the two entities. Therefore, we kindly ask the board members to re-consider the purpose of the greenway and also the impact of re-assigning Cameron Pond. • According to the Town of Cary, safety is not a concern as outline on their plan “Children will be able to safely bicycle and walk to school from their neighborhoods on the greenway system.” • If there is a concern with the utilization of the greenway, then the answer is quite simple. Delay the reassignment until there is data backing up the utilization of the greenway. At this stage it is only assumptions that are causing a major decision. Established Residents and Neighborhoods: • It was noted in the meeting that seniority of the neighborhood should be taken into account. In my case, I have been in Cary for 28 years, and specifically in Cameron Pond for 7 years. Why do you need to put my family and kids through the pains and stress of transferring schools that impact our current traditional calendar schedule and also proximity. This makes me loose the faith in the public school system, as I don’t even have faith that my kids would be re-assigned every 3 years to accommodate new comers.
• In talking with a number of people from out of state and other counties, it is a general rule that existing residents keep their assignment, while new residents would be re-assigned if the schools are capped. • Finally, the main attention during the meeting was on removing the capping from schools. I request to the Wake County Board to consider the four pillars and emphasize those pillars when thinking about Cameron Pond neighborhood.

15 Votes
 
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Nedal Safwat 20 days ago

Safety was raised by one of the members in discussion of the draft proposal. Re-assignment of Cameron Pond to Carpenter Elementary goes against the concern for safety of students. Residents of Cameron Pond is being switched from using small side roads to access Mills Park Elementary, to a school that requires crossing Highway 55. In addition, it also requires crossing railroad tracks, which is a significant consideration. Today, Cameron Ponds kids have a Walk To School Day where they walk to Mills Park Elementary and Middle to demonstrate that they can walk. If there is a change, there will be no option for kids to walk. Keep the safety we have, keep the community we have, and keep the proximity we have. I have faith that Wake County Public School System will go by the principals they preach in the pillars.

15 Votes
 
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Nedal Safwat 20 days ago

Economic Impact to Cary and the Wake County Area: The influx of new residents to the triangle is a very good sign for the area. Cary and Raleigh as everyone knows continues to be chosen as one of the top areas to live in. However, if the existing and new residents are going through school reassignments every 3-5 years, then it has a negative impact on the area economically. I can relate to this as recruiting candidates for new positions has been difficult to due to the changes in school assignments. Kindly request to Wake County Public School System to improve stability of students.

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Kiersten Williams 20 days ago

I originally posted the following in the incorrect thread a few days ago:

I am still hopeful that the decision to move Cameron Pond from Mills Park will be corrected in the next draft to #KEEPUSWHEREWEARE. My primary concern is transportation. Obviously, with a greenway connecting our neighborhood directly to the Mills Park schools, our children will have a safe and healthy way to get to school. With the new traffic pattern in place with the road closure of Carpenter Fire Station at 55 going towards Carpenter Elementary, traffic gets very backed up at that intersection. Since this road closure (which will be closed for at least four years), I've seen the aftermath of several accidents that have occurred with cars turning right onto 55 from Carpenter Fire Station. I've also seen accidents turning left off of 55 onto Morrisville Parkway or Morrisville Carpenter Road. The left turn lanes already cannot accommodate all of the traffic trying to turn left at the busy times of day that our children would be going to school. There will be no safe route for our children to walk/bike to either Carpenter Elementary or Alston Ridge Middle. Additionally, according to the figures I've seen, we are being moved from one overcrowded elementary school to another. This does not seem like an effective long-term solution. It seems to make far more sense to allow students to have some consistency with their education and zone future developments for other, less crowded schools. I have children in sixth and eighth grades. My eighth grader attends Mills Park Middle and is thriving. My sixth grader is homeschooled, and was planning to attend Mills Park as a seventh grader. With the potential change in schools, he has expressed his desire to keep homeschooling. Mills Park is familiar and safe to him, and the potential change has caused him great anxiety. As a parent, it's incredibly hard to watch kids go through this sort of struggle. Thank you for considering the concerns of our community!

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Jane Bossert 20 days ago

As a long time resident of the Cameron Pond community, I support the comments of my many neighbors who have presented a very clear and compelling case for keeping our neighborhood assignment as it is at MPES and MPMS. We will have waited over 12 years for our community to be connected to the greenway and schools. Now that that vision is becoming a reality, the board recommends a reassignment. While I understand the need to manage the growth of development and student population in our area, it makes no sense to move an established neighborhood so close to the currently assigned schools.

Our students DO walk home and WILL utilize this new greenway. I am 100% confident of that. When my children were at MPES, we had Walk-to-school Wednesdays. The turn out was incredible and students loved walking with their friends, the morning exercise and arrived at school ready to focus. I imagine many more terrific and healthy community-building activities once the greenway is complete. With schools further away, this will not be possible.

In addition to the greenway, I oppose the reassignment due to the additional distance to be traveled, the traffic and safety concerns, as well as the movement of a base school assignment from traditional to year-round calendar which is especially disruptive to families.

keepuswhereweare

14 Votes
 
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Josh Whitham 20 days ago

As a Cameron Pond homeowner, I'm extremely frustrated and disappointed in the 2nd draft, which still has the Cameron Pond subdivision being relocated from the Mills Park schools. We are being relocated to a more overcrowded school much farther away, on a different calendar option than we're currently on (unless we choose our traditional option even farther away), requiring us to traverse a highly congested section of Highway 55 and putting our children's lives at unnecessary risk twice every day, and eliminating the possibility of our children ever walking or riding their bikes to school on our beautiful new greenway. Never mind the effects on the academic or emotional well being of our children, who will be forced to say goodbye to their friends and hopefully make a few new ones. It sounds like an excellent deal for our neighborhood. I can't imaging why any of us are complaining.

15 Votes
 
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Greg Schaaf 20 days ago

I am also somewhat frustrated with the second draft. The north and south sides of the neighborhood have been redistricted differently over the years. I would be happy to accept the change in middle middle school (Alston Ridge Middle instead of Mills Park Middle) if at least the elementary school could remain the same (stay at Alston Ridge Elementary). It makes little sense to me to take children out of a school that isn't overcrowded and move them to one that is. My daughter has made quite a few good friends over the years and was hoping to help her brother next year when he starts kindergarten. Now, perhaps, they'll both be learning a new school and trying to make new friends in a new environment and a whole new school. If a change is to be made to the north side of the neighborhood it'd be nice to have it all be consistent with both Alston Ridge Middle and Alston Ridge Elementary. We love our school and would love for some consistency for our children. Cheers, Greg

keepuswhereweare.

11 Votes
 
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Rahul Nath 20 days ago

keepuswhereweare

I am a member of the Cameron Pond Community. I am extremely disheartened and disappointed on the proposal to re-zone our community for a host of reasons, which I am underlying below. I plead to the Wake County Board to reconsider the draft proposal as it adversely impacts our children’s lives 1) Wake County and West Cary in particular, has seen tremendous growth over the last few years. The seeds of this growth have been sown by neighborhoods like Cameron Pond. As part of moving to a neighborhood, a critical decision factor for families is the quality of schools for that area. It is with this assessment that Cameron Pond is part of the Mills Park Schools, the community started growing from the mid-2000s. Over time, as the community established itself, we have built an ever-growing bond with the school and its families. The community invests and contributes actively in the growth and wellbeing of the school. Taking us away from this school system, does nothing but breaks the bond we have established over time 2) The Mills Park based on the mandate is a joint effort between the Wake County Public School System and the Town of Cary. The park is intended to serve residents in its close proximity with the recreational and healthy lifestyle needs along with the highly ranked elementary and middle schools within the park perimeter. Cameron Pond, after the completion of the greenway has a direct walk-way to the park and the schools. In keeping with the growing focus on healthy lifestyles for our kids and families, we are one of the few communities in the area where kids can just walk their way to the schools, once the greenway is completed. The Walk to School idea is actively promoted by the state. The proportion of kids walking and using bikes is significantly low. Our community is ideally located to promote this culture. It just does not make sense to disconnect us from the school system when we have a closer connectivity in general to the park premises 3) The new base school, Carpenter Elementary will lead to traffic congestion for our community. First of all, Mills Park is much closer than Carpenter Elementary. Additionally, we are on the other side of a busy highway 55 and during rush hour, the drive to the school would by far be more than the drive to Mills Park, not to mention that the safety concerns are heightened. It will also crush the very idea of promoting the Walk to School idea being promoted across the state. The reassignment on the other side of 55 just does not make sense. 4) Its an investment when we move to a community. Investment in its long-term potential, home values, quality of schools. Established neighborhoods like Cameron Pond should not have to suffer for growth and new neighborhoods being built. This community itself is one of the harbingers of the success that West Cary has witnessed over the last few years. It is unfair and unjust for us to have been attempted to be moved a number of times, considering its proximity to the schools themselves. It bears no common understanding of reasons behind the attempt 5) Reassigning our neighborhood will negatively impact us in a variety of ways a. Kids of this neighborhood who are currently enrolled in Mills Park, will now have to make hard choices between the base school, magnet school or private school. Their friendships will be broken, their bond with their teachers will be broken, their connection to the park community will broken b. We can assume the value proposition of the community also will be negatively impacted. There is no doubt that Mills Park Schools are amongst the best in the state. With no disrespect to other schools, we do not wish to be taken away from MP schools having vested so much over the last decade in its growth.

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Lance Roy 20 days ago

I am writing once again to oppose the proposed move of students living in Cameron Pond from Mills Park to Carpenter ES. As mentioned in numerous other posts, this reassignment directly contradicts the stated goals of the school board when making school assignments.

While the board may have questioned the potential safety of the greenway, any reasonable neutral party asked to rate the safety of a less than 1 mile walk to school that crosses NO roads against a drive in a bus or car that requires two unprotected left turns across 50+ mph traffic would select the greenway as safer 100% of the time. Any other conclusion is simply not consistent with reality.

Furthermore, there has been question as to the potential utilization of greenway to walk to school. I would again ask the board to conduct a thought experiment. If even a small percentage of the MPES population from Cameron Pond walks, is that not greater than the ZERO percent that could walk safely to Carpenter ES? The dedication of the board to the health of our children mandates strong consideration of the health benefits of less time riding in vehicles and increased physical activity.

I hope these two very critical points of health and safety will be considered with a fresh look at the facts. I am certain the board will make the correct decision to keep Cameron Pond at Mills Park ES.

Respectfully,

Lance Roy

13 Votes
 
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Jessica Sebbo 20 days ago

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE

I’m writing to express how disheartened I am regarding the proposal to re-zone Cameron Pond away from our neighborhood schools, Mills Park Elementary and Mills Park Middle. One of the main deciding factors when relocating our family from Las Vegas, NV to Cary, and in particular Cameron Pond were the Mills Park Schools. My husband and I were thrilled to learn that a Greenway project was funded and was going to directly connect our small community to top tier elementary and middle schools. This CONFIRMED Greenway project would allow for our small community to safely WALK to school. This cuts down on traffic, bussing, it’s healthier for our children and it ladders up to one of the WCPSS pillars - PROXIMITY.

Suggesting our children be bussed over to Carpenter Elementary is counter to another WCPSS Pillar, OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY and let’s not forget something that is of utmost importance - SAFETY. Why would we take a group of children and bus them across a very congested portion of highway 55 and across a railroad crossing? This is not safe and it is not efficient.

This proposed move is also counter to STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. Overcrowded schools are a big problem in growing areas, why would WCPPS approve a re-zone that only adds insult to injury. Please let’s not increase utilization at Carpenter, a school further away, and decrease utilization at schools in our backyard. Mills Park schools have room for our children. Please don’t hold spots for communities that don’t exist yet. Our children are at Mills Park now and MUST be prioritized over those that aren’t even living in our area yet.

I appreciate you keeping an open mind as you make this decision and trust that you will consider the facts, and what our community is saying. I remain hopeful that you will live up to the pillars that you’ve set forth. Just like we tell our children, practice what you preach. So, please, do that for the children of Cameron Pond.

12 Votes
 
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Bryan Stanislaus 20 days ago

I agree with the strong and rational points of my fellow neighbors. Cameron Pond is an established community that has positively impacted Mills Park Elementary and Middle Schools. Please, re-consider and make the change to keep our children were they currently attend!!!

12 Votes
 
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Krissy Campbell 20 days ago

Back-up of cars waiting to turn left onto Morrisville Pkwy. The exact route our kids will experience on a daily basis if draft 2 remains unchanged.

DecreasedEfficiency

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Debra Mcnaughton 19 days ago

Reviewing comments made here and by other neighborhoods I am struck by the extreme lack of responses coming back from student reassignment or anyone for that matter! From the minimal responses I see, they seem to center around the priority to "align all elementary-middle calendars in wake county." When did that become a pillar? When did that take priority over the 4 stated pillars that are "used to guidance EACH AND EVERY student assignment decision."

14 Votes
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Very Concerned 19 days ago

Agreed. Calendar alignment (especially when it means forcing people into YR calendars until HS) is not as important to people as proximity and stability. Please, WCPSS, abandon the need to force calendar alignment above all. In our area, the limited demand for YR will sort itself out by families choosing their YR calendar options vs. traditional options that should be prioritized.

6 Votes
 
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Matt Dees admin 19 days ago

Hi Debra. We are seeing all the feedback, and board members, the ultimate decision-makers, will consider all the points being made by you and your neighbors. We will also be posting a follow-up FAQ based on feedback and questions received at tonight's public forum.

0 Votes
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Debra Mcnaughton 19 days ago

Hi Matt, thank you for your response. Much appreciated and will be looking forward to the revised FAQ document. Can you confirm or deny that higher priority of K-8th calendar alignment was taken in the draft proposal for the 2019-20 student assignment than a.) the stated 4 pillars that drive decision making and b.) than done so in previous years? Thank you for your time, Debra

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Matt Dees admin 19 days ago

Hi Debra. K-8 calendar alignment is a priority and falls squarely under the stability pillar. We have many, many transfer requests every year due to misaligned calendars. With the four pillars, all are taken into account, but inevitably there has to be a priority decision made. The best and most common example is that we often have to reassign students to help fill a new school, or reassign them to relieve crowding at an existing school, or very often both. This means sacrificing stability for operational efficiency. We know change is hard and worrying, but these are the kinds of tough decisions our board has to make in a growing community.

1 Vote
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Debra Mcnaughton 18 days ago

Hi Matt thanks again for your timely response. I participated in a meeting Glen C. held back many months ago to talk with families about how student assignment works. At the meeting the 4 pillars were discussed in detail and a video describing them was shown. That same video exists today on the wcpss website. The material contained in the video AND written on the wcpss website describes stability as "moving students from their current school" and nothing else.

Furthermore, if K-8 calendar alignment is a priority, I must point out that the Cameron Pond neighborhood currently has K-8 calendar alignment, actually it has K-12 calendar alignment. The Stability exists in our current assignments. The current draft plan removes that by having us experience a change now (from traditional to year round) for the remainder of our elementary experience and then back to traditional High School after completing the year round middle. I certainly acknowledge this process is not easy for the assignment committee. We want to help by offering real, tangible alternative options. Lastly, I think it is imperative to recognize that every neighborhood's experience is different and yields a different impacts from the proposed 2019-20 assignments. What we are asking the student assignment committee and the board to recognize (and change) is that for Cameron Pond the changes mean we loss what we currently have: stability (keeping kids where they are AND K-12 alignment), proximity (loss the ability to walk on a safe greenway that crosses no roads and instead puts our children on long bus rides), and operational efficiency (proposed changes would definitely negatively impact the transportation costs.) I ask that you PLEASE re-look at this particular neighborhood assignment, review alternative suggestions we have provided, come visit with us in our neighborhood to see the greenway that is literally in our backyards. Thank you again Matt. Sincerely, Debra McNaughton

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Brenda Nichols 19 days ago

I was rear-ended this morning at ~8:20am while sitting still on Carpenter Fire Station Road at the intersection with HWY 55...and WCPSS office of Student Assignment wants me to put my kids on a bus that would have to travel this route to get to the more highly overcrowded schools on the east side of HWY 55...I don't think so. Where's the logic in that.... Our community has offered so many alternative solutions that do make more sense than the current plan in draft 2. If it's too late to fully consider all options (as noted in one of the responses from WCPSS to a FAQ) then at the very least any decision about Cameron Pond should be tabled and students should remain in their current assignments next year and at best, one of the more appropriate solutions should be put forth in the next draft to allow CP students to remain at their current schools forever. #keepuswhereweare

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Brenda Nichols 19 days ago

Interesting...the WCPSS 2018-19 School and Base Attendance Area Maps currently shows Parkside Elementary and Altson Ridge Middle as Traditional calendar schools.

https://wcpss.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=c23790796a7c4e52b0b11bf4fafe3595

7 Votes
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Mohan Rao 15 days ago

Can you point me to exactly where that is ? I can't seem to find the Base Attendance Area map that shows those two schools as traditional ..

1 Vote
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Brenda Nichols at October 09, 2018 at 9:08pm EDT

you have to click on the symbols for the school then a pop up shows up with the info. I see that since I posted tis o 03Oct they now have changed Alston Ridge Middle to "TBD" for calendar, but Parkside ES is still showing as traditional as of 5 min ago.

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esther park 19 days ago

I took this picture around 8:30 this morning. Another accident right on the road our children would have to take to Carpenter and back. The board members are very aware of the frequent accidents on this part of 55 and are still wanting our children to take this route. I ask you, board members, do you find this to be safe?

Attachments: 20181003_084716.jpg
17 Votes
 
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Julie Ju 18 days ago

Moving Cameron Pond out of Mills Park schools goes against all four pillars (Student Achievement, Stability, Proximity, Operational Efficiency). We have already provided an abundance of evidence that clearly shows this reassignment violates Stability, Proximity, and Operational Efficiency. As I look over all of the data between Draft 1 and Draft 2, and watched all of the school board sessions, the conclusion that is clear is that Carpenter Elementary is negatively impacted by moving Cameron Pond families from Mills Park to Carpenter.

Even with the revised numbers in Draft 2, it is undeniable evidence that Mills Park Elementary Utilization numbers improve and Carpenter still suffers. This is completely against the spirit behind Student Achievement, as it is causing the lower performing school to be negatively impacted.

In Draft 2, pg 4, it shows the following. As of 9/18/2018 current data o Mills Park is at 115% Utilization with trailers, and is a capped school o Carpenter is much higher at 131 % Utilization with trailers, and is also a capped school

In Draft 2 Pg 9, it shows the following: o The net result is that in the next 2 school cycles with the proposed reassignment on the bottom graph, Carpenter will be at 121% Utilization while Mills Park is at only 113% Utilization. o Carpenter goes from: (2019-2020) 121% Utilization with Trailers (2021-2022) 121% Utilization with Trailers o Mills Park goes from: (2019-2020) 118% Utilization with Trailer
(2021-2022) Down to 113% Utilization with Trailers

More importantly, it appears that the Carpenter Elementary base will have several hundred new homes built that will feed into the already overcapacity school. This will only worsen the Utilization numbers. This will just be a vicious cycle that will repeat itself over and over again. As Albert Einstein said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

On the contrary, the area for the Mills Park Elementary base does not seem to have any new construction neighborhoods that will feed into it. If Cameron Pond students are allowed to stay at Mills Park Elementary, most of them will just age out. By moving Cameron Pond kids to Carpenter, it will just contribute to the already overcrowded school.

We know you’re looking for solutions for the growing population in Wake County. Instead of reserving seats at a school for brand new neighborhoods that haven’t made any investment in the community, why not establish a set distant radius for existing neighborhoods (i.e. 2 miles)? Brand new or proposed neighborhoods should be assigned to the new schools where 1 bus can pick up an entire neighborhood, which would also help with Operational Efficiency. It’s completely unjust to move existing neighborhoods to schools further away, where our families have devoted all of our resources to help make these schools and communities what they are today. Sadly, it makes it hard to want to continue to invest in Wake County schools, where established neighborhoods don’t have any sense of security or stability.

15 Votes
 
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Julie Ju 18 days ago

One question that keeps getting asked and I don't see an answer is "How many seats are you reserving at Mills Park Middle School" for new/proposed neighborhoods? If our established neighborhood is getting kicked out to make room for new neighborhoods that haven't made any investment in the schools and community, we deserve to know.

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Matt Dees admin 18 days ago

Hi Julie. We do not have a set number of seats for future developments.

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Kristen Lemke 18 days ago

Hi Matt, it sounds like you are saying that it is unknown how many new students the future neighborhoods will bring and Cameron Pond is being moved for an unknown. I must be misunderstanding or missing something. There must be some data from which the reassignment committee is working to justify giving our 103 seats away. If the new neighborhoods exceed that number, will you move more existing Mills Park students to other schools to make room? I can't think of any organization or business that turns out existing members/customers for future ones whose numbers are unknown and there won't be enough room in the future.

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Brenda Nichols 18 days ago

Perhaps we're not asking the question correctly. Per draft 2, you are assigning several yet to be built neighborhoods and neighborhoods in the very early stags of construction (examples include Ridgefield Farms, Crestmont, Greenmoor to name a few)...what is the projected number of students from these new neighborhoods that will attend Mills Park Middle? Cameron Pond students represent a finite, and small, number of MPM students; why do they have to be moved out to accommodate new students that aren't even living here yet? Assign these new students, with no ties to a particular school or calendar, to whatever school you desire and give the existing kids of Cameron Pond the stability they deserve. You are completely disrupting any stability by changing CP south from traditional calendar to year round then back to traditional for high school. Align the NEW neighborhoods and keep CP as is.

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Darby Wang 18 days ago

I fully supports the many reasons my neighbors have made for keeping Cameron Pond assigned to Mills Park Schools. Please consider all of the feedback we have provided as you are working on draft 3. KeepUsWhereWeAre!

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Jeremy Wang 18 days ago

Keeping Cameron Pond at Mills Park supports the pillars of the WCSS by allowing these students to walk and bike to their current school while helping relieve the more severe projected overcrowding at Carpenter ES. The draft 1 and 2 reassignment of Cameron Pond stands to harm the students of this community while doing nothing to further the WCSS stated goals.

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Scott Lemke 18 days ago

How many traditional calendar seats are being held for students displaced from traditional calendar schools at the application schools, Davis drive and Weatherstone in particular? With Parkside elementary being switched from traditional to year round, there will be more pressure on nearby traditional schools for any available seats.

With all the need for seats in western wake, why the desire to reduce over crowding at Mills Park Elementary? The school is running extremely well as it is. Is the staff at Mills Park elementary asking for fewer kids? If not, shouldn't the school be filled to as much as the staff can handle to ease busing and reassignment?

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Julie Ju 18 days ago

For many of us that can NOT send our kids to year round schools, Weatherstone and Green Hope Elementary are listed as our traditional calendar options. Since both of these schools most likely won't be accepting new students, does this mean we don't actually have an elementary traditional option? This is a HUGE problem since many of us have older kids and can't have kids spread out on different tracks. That is a logistical nightmare. As mentioned before, you are proposing to move us from our beloved neighborhood school, and the problem is exasperated by also switching from traditional to year round schools ,without providing us with a viable traditional option.

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John Cyr 18 days ago

As a long-time resident of Cary Park whose children have been reassigned to new schools multiple times over the past 10+ years, I can totally empathize with the residents of Cameron Pond. That being said, I think you need to be realistic and look at the situation as a whole - not just the isolated impact on your neighborhood.

While you - like my family - live in an established neighborhood, it doesn't provide the right for you to pick and choose which schools you attend. The reality of the matter is we reside in an area of Cary with explosive residential growth. Our public education is also run by Wake County and not by the town which makes this situation very difficult. I think we can all agree that the town and county should better coordinate their efforts on aligning residential growth and with proper school capacities, but doing so would be difficult even under the best circumstances.

Having gone through this same process three times, I can assure you that the school board and the folks responsible for the school reassignments are not just making reckless, uneducated decisions. It is a near impossible task to juggle population growth, building schools, managing school capacities and making everyone happy at the same time. There are always going to be “winners” and “losers”, and while such reassignment decisions are difficult – particularly for the kids – it is the unfortunate price we pay for living in a highly desirable, growing part of Wake County where the school district cannot keep up.

Believe me, we battled against such reassignments in the past, showing the board and committee how they were not meeting their obligations of the 4 pillars. While these pillars are certainly aspirational, reality sometimes must take over. The reality is that in order to handle the residential growth, new schools must be built and filled, and students sometimes need to be reassigned. I know I didn’t want to hear it when I was in your seat, but that is the truth. Just two years ago, a section of Cary Park was exactly where you are. In that case, it was roughly 30 students being impacted, and they were being separated from the rest of the neighborhood. Like you, they pointed to the 4 pillars and all of the injustices being made. They also pointed to the fact that kids could walk to school – already using an EXISTING greenway directly connecting the neighborhood to the school! On a side note, I do find it interesting that you pointing to soon-to-be-built greenway as a reason to keep the CP kids at MPES/MS…let’s be honest, outside of a handful of people, that greenway will never be used by kids going to school, particularly the elementary school. I know I wouldn’t.

I truly wish you the best of luck and do hope that the school board and committee can find a way to keep you at MPES/MS. However, you once again need to realize the enormous complexity and difficult decisions the WCPSS has to deal with. Their decisions not only impact Cameron Pond, but all of the other communities that are directly and indirectly impacted by the latest assignment. Keep in mind, that if you become “winners” in this situation, someone else will end up being the “loser”.

2 Votes
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Beth Farrell at October 08, 2018 at 10:49am EDT

As a long time resident of Cameron Pond thank you for your "sympathy" but with all do respect this has absolutely nothing to do with you!!! While I know and respect that you are entitled to your opinion and this has affected you in the past our situations are COMPLETELY different!! Furthermore, we know this isn't an easy decision and there are many factors that go into play when they are making decisions and that we live in an awesome area where everyone wants to live but we are simply advocating for whats best for OUR children and community!! And while doing so we have been nothing but kind and respectful to the entire board. And let's be honest you have absolutely NO idea how many people in OUR neighborhood would use the greenway. It was supposed to already be completely and half is....we didn't comment and make assumptions when you guys were going thru this! Frankly I find your comments insulting and rude! The only losers in this situation are our innocent kids! I grew up and graduated from WCPSS and this was a problem when I was in school and there is obviously a bigger problem here! Bottom line is kids should be able to attend their neighborhood school which they can see from their neighborhood!

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Cary NC 15 days ago

Mr. Cyr,

Your empathy is “questionable”. I don’t understand why anyone would take time to write such a meaningless post .

First of all let’s clarify that by searching your name there was no record of any resident in wake county under your “name” JOHN CYR - very suspicious but regardless of who you truly are ( builder, realtor, or wake county supporter ) let’s discuss your post :

“ I think you need to be realistic “- we are realistic as we currently have K-12 calendar alignment , 2 mile school radius proximity, very involved community with both schools, we were there first, and we waited years to join. That is the common sense of being realistic.

“It doesn't provide the right for you to pick and choose which schools you attend.” Who are you to tell us our rights ? - Our kids’ civic, academic, and emotional rights dictate that they should not be uprooted from their schools and communities to accommodate builders and new neighborhoods ! This is WRONG . And rest assured we are dedicated to fixing this mess sooner or later !

“I think we can all agree that the town and county should better coordinate their efforts on aligning residential growth and with proper school capacities, but doing so would be difficult even under the best circumstances” — this exact quote to the dot was said by one of the WCPSS office staff during last meeting ! You must have memorized it well during your three battles with WCPSS , Great cheerleading job though !

“Having gone through this same process three times “ - If you have gone through it 3 times, why are you denying us the right to do the same for our kids ?

“ I can assure you that the school board and the folks responsible for the school reassignments are not just making reckless, uneducated decisions” - you are contradicting yourself as you said you fought the draft THREE times, so why did you go through such pain if you feel they are making educated reasonable decisions???

From which strong position do you speak on behalf of the school board or even defend them ? unfortunately I have to disagree for none of the board members have visited our neighborhood prior to the draft 1 . It is an absolutely reckless decision to uproot a neighborhood that is directly connected to the school.

There are always going to be “winners” and “losers”- How shameful of you to describe parents trying to secure their kids’ right of stability as “ losers “ !!!!

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Julie Ju 16 days ago

Can you tell us how many students are enrolled in Carpenter Elementary and Mills Park, per grade currently? Also, can you tell us what the proposed numbers will be per grade next year with the proposed reassignment?

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Lisa Ju 16 days ago

I join my Cameron Pond neighbors in strongly opposing the proposed student reassignment of our neighborhood from MPE and MPMS. We have presented compelling arguments in support of keeping us at the Mills Park schools, including: 1. Proximity- as others have noted, we are one of the closest neighborhoods to MPE and MPMS and we are closer to the Mills Park schools than we are to either Carpenter or ARMS. 2. Stability- Not only would moving our children to new schools cause substantial disruption, but this impact would be even worse if moved from a traditional calendar school to a year round school calendar. MPE and MPMS has been the base school for years. During this time, Cameron Pond has invested significantly into these schools as attested by the President of MPE’s PTA (in fact, she notes that our support is disproportionately high), yet new neighborhoods in development that have not made similar investments in the MP school community and have no established ties to the schools are being assigned to the schools we have devoted our resources in making what they are today. Why are seats being reserved at the MP schools for potential students that have not moved into neighborhoods that have not yet been developed? 3. Operational efficiency- moving MPE to Carpenter Elementary to alleviate crowding defies logic if Carpenter would be more overcrowded (125%) than MPE following addition of Cameron Pond students (117%). 4. Safety – moving us to Carpenter Elementary would require buses to cross an already busy Hwy 55, in the path of multiple construction projects posing additional and unnecessary risk to our children and increasing traffic. Keeping us at MP schools will allow our children to walk to school safely on a greenway connecting Cameron Pond directly to the schools without the need to cross a single street outside the neighborhood. There are some people that point out that the greenway won't be utilized, but that assumption is unfair and cannot simply be made on other neighborhoods not utilizing greenways connecting to their schools.

KEEPUSWHEREWEARE!

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Hannah Kim 16 days ago

As a grandparent of children who attend Mills Park schools from Cameron Pond, I ask the assignment committee not to fall into the trap of rigid dichotomy. There is a huge misconception in the committee saying that a small number of children are needed to be sacrificed for the common good as if there were no other viable options for the West Cary community. First, this gullible concept might sound good on the surface; however, it is an extremely dangerous line of thought. Regardless of the size of the group, EVERYONE has to be protected by the law and policy. In this case, every child needs to be reasonably protected by the WCPCC policy 4150.

Second, let’s assume for a second that we have to sacrifice a small number of children for the common good. What is the common good in this particular reassignment proposal? What do we gain as a community by moving a relatively small number of children from an overcrowded school (Mills Park) to an even more overcrowded school (Carpenter Elementary has higher % utilization compared to Mills Park for the next 5 years)? The reassignment committee has not presented any clear idea or definitive plans to solve the overcrowding issue in this area, and the current reassignment proposal has absolutely no value since it simply shuffles the children around among different overcrowded schools in the same region. If the committee really wants to make their utilization numbers look “prettier” for Mills Park schools for the short term and include new housing developments, is it truly considered the common good? Here is a head-to-head comparison of Cameron Pond and Ridgefield Farms, a brand new development with 144 houses newly being incorporated to Mills Park Middle in the proposed reassignment.

  • Student Achievement: Cameron Pond = Ridgefield (this pillar is not applicable)

  • Stability: Cameron Pond > Ridgefield (Mills Park schools have been the base for Cameron Pond for years while the houses in the Ridgefield Farms are projected to be completed by 2019/2020. There are currently 0 children in this neighborhood attending Mills Park schools!)

  • Proximity: Cameron Pond > Ridgefield (Cameron Pond is 0.5 miles from Mill Park schools once the greenway is connected in 2019. Ridgefield Farms neighborhood will be 2.1 mils from Mills Park. Ridgefield is actually CLOSER to Alston Ridge Middle).

  • Operational efficiency: Cameron Pond > Ridgefield (Children in Cameron Pond will walk or bike less than 0.5 to 1 mile once the greenway is connected. Ridgefield Farms has no means to walking or biking to Mills Park schools)

So… who is getting benefit here? Is it the county? Is the entire West Cary community being benefited from this? The answer is resounding NO!! The developers in West Cary are the ONLY parties who are excited about the current reassignment proposal.

Lastly, I request the full disclosure of potential conflict of interest (COI) from all who have been involved in the reassignment process, including all members of the assignment committee. COI disclosures must include any gifts received, investments, and family/personal ties to the real estate market, and/or local development/construction businesses. I question the intention of some committee members if the reassignment proposal heavily favors new developments while children from the existing neighborhoods are left to suffer. It warrants further investigation. If anyone is found to have potential COIs, that member must be removed from the decision process, and the entire reassignment proposal has to be redrafted before the final approval by the school board.

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Krissy Campbell at October 08, 2018 at 1:40pm EDT
  1. Safety should be a top priority. A greenway that does not cross a single road provides the safest method of transportation. Forcing our neighborhood to utilize Carpenter Fire Station Rd and Hwy 55 poses several safety concerns: Traffic, unprotected left turns, railway construction, and road widening, amounting to 6-7 years of more risky and longer commutes. #Question: How does this support improving efficiency?

  2. Your own mandate argues that it: “Supports active transportation to and from schools, including walking and biking”. #Question: How does Draft 2 support this goal? How does it support “Walk to School Day”, an event geared towards encouraging your own words?

  3. K-8 alignment is a good consideration. However, its benefits start to breakdown when you can’t guarantee all siblings will be assigned the same track. #Question: Are the proposed schools prepared to make this possible?

  4. Offering Green Hope ES as a traditional calendar option is not a likely solution due to high application levels. #Question: What are your projections for successful applications?

  5. The Mills Park Concept Plan was supported with input and financial contributions by the WCPSS: It reads “children will be able to safely bicycle and walk to school from their neighborhoods on the greenway system.” #Question: How does Draft 2 support this approved plan?

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Brenda Nichols at October 09, 2018 at 8:47pm EDT

I'm hopeful that this delay means the Office of Student Assignment staff and the School Board members are seriously considering some of the many solutions offered by residents of Cameron Pond; most notably to keep students in established neighborhoods that are within walking distance of their schools at those schools rather than shifting those kids out and making room for new students from new/under construction neighborhoods.  There is rapid growth around the Mills Park school base area, but having the new-comers fill the seats at our schools that we have supported for years is a slap in the face, making us feel angry and betrayed.  Ridgefield Farms, north of McCrimmon Parkway, can attend Carpenter or Alston Ridge ES and Alston Ridge Middle; this neighborhood that is being developed now has no ties to any school, so those children will not be disrupted in any way.  Likewise, the new neighborhoods south of Green Level West Rd (e.g, Greenmoor, Crestmont and others) sensibly could attend Lufkin Rd Middle or the new Apex Friendship Middle.   Carpenter Elementary is MORE overcrowded than Mills Park Elementary and the overcrowding is worsened at Carpenter under the Draft 2 proposal. This plan does not address operational efficiency, overcrowding, stability, proximity, or student achievement (as the students yanked out of their school will not likely perform as well in unfamiliar environments without the support of their friends and school staff that they know and love).

Finally, our greenway is unique as it is within our neighborhood, does not cross or parallel any public roads and does not require any additional security measures/crossing guards, etc. The Panther Creek Greenway allows the students of Cameron Pond to access the Mills Park schools by foot or bike, keeping them fit and reducing car pool lines at the schools; thus enhancing operational efficiency.  We can't walk to any other schools; why not allow walkability to be the 5th pillar in this era of childhood obesity?  Keep a protected "walkable zone" around the schools. Seems like a win win on all fronts.  

The Town of Cary thought so when it submitted it's grant proposal more than 3 years ago to receive federal funding from NCDOT (Federal Aid # CMS-050(0320) for the greenway project, noting "This project involves construction of an...asphalt trail linking a middle school, an elementary school, a town park, and a commercial activity center to residents on either side of a major thoroughfare and Interstate 540...This section of Panther Creek Greenway will provide links to an existing short and currently disconnected, grade-separated crossing of I-540; and will also provide connection to an existing grade-separated pedestrian facility at Green Level Church Road, creating safer bicycle and pedestrian access to the schools, park and commercial center....(project end point) existing greenway and sidewalk at Cameron Pond Drive to the east, and to the existing Town park, elementary school and Mills Park Drive Street-Side Trail to the south."

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Krissy Campbell at October 10, 2018 at 2:06pm EDT

Walk to School Day

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Matt Dees admin at October 11, 2018 at 2:45pm EDT

We have addressed some Frequently Asked Questions from the parent forum at Panther Creek High School. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IoQgCuCCp7JmxLMw5mIaeTMFUr0is3hYuR-2NjY4SnQ/edit?usp=sharing

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Krissy Campbell at October 11, 2018 at 8:55pm EDT

These views are short-sighted. Allowing new developments into Mills Park will cause even more overcrowding than current levels. Total disregard for any sense of stability for our kids as well. There needs to be a solid long-term plan that takes into consideration the impact of all these new developments. Their enrollment numbers will only increase, while Cameron Ponds’ numbers will decrease as students age-out. Also, if major roads are considered when drawing lines, consider ones that are actually utilized by the affected neighborhoods. The 540 should not be a consideration as it is not utilized. Hwy 55 is littered with accidents and is unavoidable given the current reassignment. Total disregard for student safety. Lastly, you cannot defend the hypocrisy that exists when you support Walk to School Day and overall student wellness, but take away our kids’ ability to walk to school in favor of longer bus routes that expose our kids to more sedentary lifestyles.

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Kevin Younge at October 12, 2018 at 7:17am EDT

Dear School Board, we felt the urgent need to provide feedback on the October 11 FAQ provided by the Office of Student Assignment. We kindly ask that you thoroughly review the below prior to Draft 3 and that Cameron Pond be allowed to remain Mills Park ES/MS.

*Shouldn’t you factor in the greenway coming from Cameron Pond? *

The greenway provides the shortest route to Mills Park school without the need to even cross a road. The FAQ from the assignment committee seems to go to great lengths to find fine points to discount the importance of the greenway, which was funded and designed to connect our neighborhood to Mills Park. Let’s just use common sense please instead of speculating whether a fallen tree would be cleared more quickly from a greenway or a sidewalk, or whether the greenway ends at the school or the park immediately adjacent/connected to the school. Why isn’t the focus on doing what is best for the education and wellbeing of our children?

We have reached out to our City Council representative and Panther Creek Greenway project manager for clarification with the below message.

The Office of Student Assignment released the below FAQ today to try to justify reassigning Cameron Pond from Mills Park ES/MS due to concerns about Greenway safety. This greenway is going through our backyard. If it is indeed unsafe nor an appropriate mode of transportation to school from Cameron Pond, can you please explain why the Town of Cary is making this investment, why this is inconsistent with the TOC planning and funding proposals below, and what the TOC will do to make the greenway safe?

It was our understanding from the Town of Cary Mills Park concept plan that "Mills Park will act as a trailhead for the greenway as well as access point for greenway users to reach the schools", ”Children will be able to safely bicycle and walk to school from their neighborhoods on the greenway system." Additionally, federal funding from NCDOT (Federal Aid # CMS-050(0320) for the greenway says "This project involves construction of an...asphalt trail linking a middle school, an elementary school, a town park, and a commercial activity center to residents on either side of a major thoroughfare and Interstate 540...This section of Panther Creek Greenway will provide links to an existing short and currently disconnected, grade-separated crossing of I-540; and will also provide connection to an existing grade-separated pedestrian facility at Green Level Church Road, creating safer bicycle and pedestrian access to the schools, park and commercial center....(project end point) existing greenway and sidewalk at Cameron Pond Drive to the east, and to the existing Town park, elementary school and Mills Park Drive Street-Side Trail to the south."**

It looks like moving students from Cameron Pond into Carpenter Elementary will increase crowding there. The raw numbers do indicate that. However, those projections do not factor in parent choices to seek transfers to other schools. By necessity, the projections show that every single student assigned to the new school attending that school. But based on parent transfer and application choices in recent years related to Carpenter and other schools in the area, our student assignment staff does not anticipate Carpenter Elementary would be severely overcrowded in 2019-20 under the current proposal.

Please hold the Office of Student assignment accountable for accuracy and transparency. On one hand this data is being used in public forums to justify Draft 1 and 2. Now as we approach finalization of the plan, “The raw numbers do indicate that. But now our reasoning is…” We feel the same arguments are being used against us with the Pillars. In the last Board working session, we heard that the Pillars are a priority, except when they are not a priority for the whatever reasons that the assignment committee deems more important.

How many walkers are there currently at Mills Park Elementary and Middle? According to the principals, there are about 15 regular walkers and bikers at the middle school. There are no students officially listed as walkers/bikers at elementary, though there are a few most days. **

It is irrelevant how many children walk to school now. Most neighborhoods assigned to Mills Park do not have the option to walk to school without crossing streets. Does WCPSS promote walking per policy 6140 or not?

Additionally, the Office of Student Assignment did not provide clarity as to how the 15 regular walkers were determined. Who is going to walk to school 5 days a week rain or shine? We suspect every walker is going to have to have an alternative mode of transportation officially recorded with the school.

Lastly kindly ask that the School Board not discount feedback from their constituents. There are hundreds of comments on the Envision Wake website from Cameron Pond residents attesting to the importance of the greenway in walking to school.

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Hannah Kim at October 11, 2018 at 11:13pm EDT

Dear Mr. Dees,

Thank you for your response. Below is a point-by-point response to address your statements, presented in the order in which they appear in your FAQ:

  • “.. there are no greenways recognized as acceptable walk paths by Wake County Public School System transportation staff…”

Nobody has asked WCPSS to determine the safety of the walkway connecting Cameron Pond to Mills Park schools. This is truly beyond the scope of the WCPSS transportation staff and assignment committee. I am sure you are aware of this by now, but in the grant application which netted more than $1 million in federal money (Federal Aid #CMS-050-0320), it states that the greenway will create safer bicycle and pedestrian access to the schools, specifically Mills Park Elementary and Middle. Are you implying this grant application falsely claimed the safety and utilization of this greenway? If so, it is reportable as a fraudulent behavior to the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. By definition, it is a grant fraud if the recipient provided false claims to the federal government. I would assume the assignment committee members are willing to testify against the town of Cary and Wake County if subpoenaed.

  • “the raw numbers do indicate that. However, those projections do not factor in parent choices to seek transfers to other schools….”

If you cannot accurately estimate the % utilization numbers, why use them at all? I understand these numbers are all estimates, but they are the only data available to us. You cannot pick and choose your own data. If you are able to come up with better data, please provide those numbers for all schools, including Mills Park, to the public.

  • “… But please remember that doing so does nothing to relieve current crowding at either Mills Park Elementary or Middle…”

Can you provide the data on this? For example, Mills Park Middle is the base for many new housing developments, including Ridgefield Farms, which has 144 houses. It is hard to imagine they have no impact on the crowding issues in the region. Can you provide % utilization at Mills Park Elementary and Middle with and without all the new housing developments for 2019/2020, 2020/2021, 2021/2022, and 2022/2023?

  • “…. We use major roadways as boundaries when possible…”

First, this is not one of the major pillars stated by the WCPSS board policy 4150. Besides, the local residents made it very clear that I-540 cannot be a simple boundary since 540 has no impact on the local traffic pattern because it is grade-separated from all local streets in the area. On the other hand, Hwy55 is considered a major roadway with the most impact on the local traffic pattern. I understand it is easy to draw a line on the map from distance, but I expect the assignment committee to revise the initial drawing if there are compelling data to support the change instead of simply following the initial gut feeling.

  • “during that time, there were no accidents that caused serious injury…”

It is extremely saddening to say that a WCPSS student died from a traffic accident in 2015. It was right on Hwy 55 within 0.5 mile-radius of the route to Carpenter Elementary school proposed in Draft 2. How can you say you’re worried about the safety of trees and visibility of greenways while not worrying about children sitting in a car making unprotected left turns on a very busy highway where a student died just several years ago? I value your concerns on our children’s safety, but to be honest with you, it cannot be more than what these parents may have to deal with on a daily basis if the current draft is not corrected. Please have trust in them on this.

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Chase Brady at October 11, 2018 at 9:03pm EDT

STUDENT ASSIGNMENT: “How many walkers are there currently at Mills Park Elementary and Middle? According to the principals, there are about 15 regular walkers and bikers at the middle school. There are no students officially listed as walkers/bikers at elementary, though there are a few most days.”

When we asked Mills Park schools they told us that they don’t keep numbers of walkers since we are a non walking school so they have no idea how many people are walking. Greystone is a neighborhood that is connected to Mills Park by gasp an enclosed greenway that doesn't cross any streets just as ours will be. They have so many walkers that a crossing guard is now needed. Please stop making up your own 'facts' to try and force the school board to make bad decisions based on student assignments misinformation and agenda. We have video that was taken last week of the so called 15 walkers...guess we lost 2 walkers since you all last told the board about the 'fresh information from mills park was 17 walkers'. Our neighborhood alone has more than 15 walkers at least once a week! One video we have (I am unable to attach it) is a quick version with someone driving down Green Level Church that shows about 70 walkers and we also have a longer version of this video taken while sitting at the police station where you can count about 200 kids in the coarse of 20 minutes - please let us know if you would like us to send it to you so you can update your FAQ's.

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Lynsay Simper at October 12, 2018 at 7:48am EDT

From the FAQ: "We use major roadways as boundaries when possible." 540 is NOT A DIVIDER between Cameron Pond and Mills Park. The greenway goes under. Carpenter Fire Station goes over. There are no on or off ramps here. There is a difference between an aerial map and real life. And in real life, Hwy 55 in this area has accidents almost daily now. 55 IS a boundary.

"Public streets provide lighting. Greenways are not required to do so." Our kids would only be walking to and from school during daylight hours with plenty of parents with them. Why are we having to fight for them to walk to school??? Is the promotion of "Walk to School Day" just a farce?

"Greenways are not maintained at the same level as a public right of way. For example, downed trees from a storm likely would not be cleared as rapidly as they would be from a roadway." The example you gave is a hypothetical downed tree whereas Hwy 55 WILL BE under construction for the next 6 years. It has already begun.

A major factor when considering whether to approve a designated walk zone is visibility of students. They are in the open and passing homes, businesses, passing motorists and others to ensure safety. Greenways do not provide these extra eyes of community members." Please do not try to make it sound as if a greenway that crosses no streets would be less safe than traveling on Hwy 55 every day. The "extra eyes" of community members would be coming from oncoming traffic, not a friendly neighbor.

"We do not recognize a walkway that requires cutting through a park." From the Town of Cary plans for Mills Park: Based upon available funding, phase two of Mills Park will include the following: The Panther Creek greenway connection through the site. This greenway will connect to the existing greenway trail on the school entrance drive.

"By necessity, the projections show every single student assigned to the new school attending that school. But based on parent transfer and application choices in recent years related to Carpenter and other schools in the area, our student assignment staff does not anticipate Carpenter Elementary would be severely overcrowded in 2019-20 under the current proposal." Mr. Dees, didn't you say in a recent open session that Green Hope and Weatherstone were not accepting transfer requests? Meaning we would in fact all have to go to Carpenter (or leave WCPSS)? How can the same data be used to say that Mills Park will stay over capacity and must be relieved of some existing neighborhoods, but in the case of Carpenter, the numbers are just estimates that will go down?

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Chase Brady at October 12, 2018 at 8:31am EDT

STUDENT ASSIGNMENT: Why can’t you move developments that aren’t built yet out of Mills Park Middle instead of moving existing students? This is something we are considering for Draft 3. But please remember that doing so does nothing to relieve current crowding at either Mills Park Elementary or Middle. Both schools have enrollment caps that are keeping hundreds of students in the base attendance area from attending. Looking at the Mills Park Elementary base attendance map, student assignment staff recommends reassigning the portion of the base attendance area that is on the other side of 540, which includes the Cameron Pond neighborhood. We use major roadways as boundaries when possible.

This is great news that you use major roads as boundaries to reassign because the 540 actually goes under our roads and we don't have to cross 540 - the major road we have as a barrier is 55. Did you know that our kids can currently walk on the same sidewalk from our neighborhood ALL THE WAY to Mills Park without ever crossing a road? By your rational, the neighborhood Holland Farms to the south of Morrisville Parkway should be moved from MPE base as they actually cross two major, 4 lane roads - Morrisville Parkway and Green Level Church - to get to school. Their neighbors also already go to White Oak (Traditional alignment) so that seems like a neighborhood that should not be in the MPE base area. For the middle school you can take your pick of major roads that are barriers ... Morrisville Parkway, Green Level West, Jenks Rd.? Since 540 is not a barrier for us and you use major roadways as barriers when possible, we would request that you reexamine those neighborhoods that meet that assignment criteria and move them from the Mills Park base.

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Lynsay Simper at October 12, 2018 at 8:48am EDT

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS: The map provided in the recently posted FAQ makes 540 a VERY BOLD LINE, but if you look closely, you will notice that there are no on-ramps or off-ramps near Cameron Pond. This is very deceiving and downplays the danger of Hwy 55.

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Sini Abraham at October 12, 2018 at 11:23am EDT

Assignment board response to overcrowding "But based on parent transfer and application choices in recent years related to Carpenter and other schools in the area, our student assignment staff does not anticipate Carpenter Elementary would have an increase in crowding for 2019-20 under the current proposal. "

Per comments during the last meeting, parents were told that both Green Hope and Weatherstone are NOT accepting transfer requests. So what is the real plan for our students? Is busing one hour away really the best for our students?

Assignment board response to major roadways to determine assignment "Looking at the Mills Park Elementary base attendance map, student assignment staff recommends reassigning the portion of the base attendance area that is on the other side of 540, which includes the Cameron Pond neighborhood. We use major roadways as boundaries when possible. "

While on a flat map Mills Park schools are on the other side of 540, the neighborhoods DO NOT have to get on 540 to get to school. we have an overpass that is a quick drive. In addition, with the greenway it will be 1 mile to walk to school.

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Ryan Simper at October 12, 2018 at 12:16pm EDT

I totally agree with the school board policy that major roads should be used as dividing lines. HIGHWAY 55 IS A MAJOR ROAD WITH MULTIPLE DANGEROUS INTERSECTIONS. It is a natural boundary separating Cameron Pond and Carpenter ES.

Please watch this short video comparing crossing 55 with crossing 540, both taken at 840 in the morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br2JbT_l5lk

Had I not been incredibly cautious, I would have been broadsided by this minivan running a red light at 55mph. This kind of thing happens every day, and one day will kill a passenger in a car, maybe a child. Seriously. (And no, I didn't run this route 100x to get this shot, this was my first and only trip)

540 may LOOK like a natural boundary on a 2d overhead map, but in reality it is NOT a natural boundary or dividing line. It has no intersections, no stoplights, no crosswalks. Compare the statistics on traffic collisions at the intersection of 55/Carpenter Fire Station and 55/Morrisville Parkway with that of the "intersection" of 540 and Carpenter Fire Station, and it's clear what the SAFE decision for our children is.

Natural boundaries are fast-moving, ground-level routes like Hwy 55 and to a lesser extent, Green Level Church, Green Hope School, O'Kelly Chapel. 540 is borderline irrelevant for a discussion of student safety and convenience in getting to and from school.

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Steven Park at October 12, 2018 at 12:52pm EDT

Dear Mr. Carrozza and Mr. Dees,

In your response, I mostly read descriptive statements, and I have yet to find any objective assessment of your current proposal regarding the Cameron Pond neighborhood reassignment. In your interview with WRAL, you (Mr. Dees) stated “…I understand the proximity argument, but it’s only one of four points when it comes to making these decisions.” Based on your own scoring system, I ask you to provide us with an objective explanation to justify your reassignment proposal in moving the Cameron Pond neighborhood to distant schools. I have assigned 1 point for each pillar based on your scoring system and according to the WCPSS board policy 4150. I provided the rationale in my previous post already.

*Student achievement: ---Providing an opportunity for families to apply (0.3 pt): 0 pt ---Minimizing high concentration of low-performing (0.3 pt): 0 pt ---Minimizing high concentration of low-income (0.3 pt): 0 pt

*Stability: ---Student stability (0.5 pt): 0 pt ---Calendar stability (0.5 pt): 0 pt

*Proximity (1 pt): 0 pt

*Operational efficiency: ---Minimize under-enrolled schools (0.3 pt): 0 pt ---Minimize overcrowded schools (0.4 pt): - Carpenter Elementary: 0 pt - Alston Ridge Middle: 0.2 pt ---Transportation efficiency (0.3 pt): 0 pt

This is 0.2 out of 4 points, which translates to 5 out of 100 points. As you are all familiar with the student grading system, 70% is usually considered a passing grade. In my own assessment, your score for the current reassignment proposal is too low to be even placed on a conventional grading scale. I would be interested to see if you are able to come up with a more respectable score.

Again, the current proposal does NOT fix the overcrowding problem in West Cary. I am aware that the assignment committee is contemplating to revisit the multi-track calendar for Mills Park schools in the near future. Based on this, I propose a dual tract system for both Mills Park elementary and middle if the K8 alignment is the top priority by WCPSS. The assignment committee could then create 2 zones, the inner (e.g. < 2 mile radius) and the outer (e.g. > 2 mile radius), and give two options to parents in the outer zone to choose between new schools and the second tract at Mills Park. I assure you that the majority would support the non-traditional dual-tract calendar for Mills Park to keep their children at the same school. This is just one of many options to solve the overcrowding problem in the area. I request the assignment committee and the board members to postpone the proposed Mills Park reassignment indefinitely until a definitive plan is made in the next couple of years.

I understand the assignment committee is faced with a highly challenging situation, but your answer “doing so would be difficult even under the best circumstances” is simply unacceptable. Would you like to hear that from your doctor when you become ill? As a cancer physician, I face near impossible tasks almost everyday, but I never give out this excuse to my patients. I go to extremes for every single patient of mine and make sure they receive the very best care. Your job is not any different, and you have moral obligations to these children. I expect you will do the same for every child under your care as I do to my patients. “Good enough” is not good enough for these children. They need your very best, and I trust that you will do so and present an A+ grade to these children for your reassignment project.

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Sini Abraham at October 12, 2018 at 3:00pm EDT

In addition - assignment board response to major roadways to determine assignment "Looking at the Mills Park Elementary base attendance map, student assignment staff recommends reassigning the portion of the base attendance area that is on the other side of 540, which includes the Cameron Pond neighborhood. We use major roadways as boundaries when possible. "

Cameron Pond is assigned to new Alston Ridge Middle in the new proposal. Based on google maps, our kids will need to still "540" as you have defined in your response to get there - making your argument/explanation invalid. In addition to being in the same situation, we would be traveling 3.5-4.4 miles (depending on the route) vs. 2 miles to MPMS. There is a lot of fallacy and incorrect 'data/statements' made in our FAQs that do not align with facts.

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Brenda Nichols at October 17, 2018 at 12:06am EDT

Although the satellite image in the attached file is a bit dated (Ridgefield farms area is now cleared with some houses under construction for example), this google map image gives some much needed perspective. Cameron Pond is one of the closest neighborhoods to Mills Park Schools and as an established neighborhood, our students are aging out so our numbers attending Mills Park Schools will be falling over the next several years. With the major road construction projects from our neighborhood entrance east to HWY 55 slated to extend for 6 years, sending CP students to the west on Carpenter Fire Station Rd makes sense as does use of the Panther Creek Greenway under 540 to walk/bike to Mills Park Schools. What sense is it for our students to travel north past Ridgefield Farms to get to Alston Ridge Middle while the new students that will eventually live in Ridgefield Farms head south to get to Mills Park Middle? The bus routes would literally cross each other on Green Level Church Rd. So much for operational efficiency! Per the Working Session today (16 Oct), Mr. Carozza noted 4 options for Cameron Pond, but there are so many other, better, options not put forth....why? At this point, the best decision seems to be to hold off and keep things status quo at MPE this year (minimally), remove Ridgefield Farms from the MPM base (Alston Ridge Schools seems a logical choice) and then using the ACTUAL data from Cameron Pond (not an algorithm)...we believe MPE can meet the K-3 mandate with the base left as is.

8 Votes
 
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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2018 at 10:43am EDT

Hi all. Wanted to correct one point made during the public comments last night, that Mills Park Elementary would only need one additional classroom if the K-3 class size mandate went into effect today. Confirmed with the Mills Park Elementary principal this morning that the figures we have shared showing the school would need five additional classrooms are accurate.

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Julie Ju at October 17, 2018 at 9:17pm EDT

Hi Mr Dees. You are using today's current enrollment numbers at Mills Park Elem to project how many classrooms would be needed in 2021 when the K-3 mandate will take effect, correct? Would you agree that the enrollment trend is going down at Mills Park Elem? Would you also agree that simply moving established Cameron Pond students and replacing them with new capped students, will not solve the K-3 mandate unilaterally? Can you show us the current Carpenter enrollment numbers and use that to project the need for 2021 K-3 classrooms? How are you taking into account the hundreds of new construction homes (single family, townhomes, multi-family units) that will be part of the Carpenter base?

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Tom Ju at October 17, 2018 at 3:59pm EDT

Is Principal Regan allowed to share his own data directly with us?

7 Votes
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Julie Ju at October 17, 2018 at 9:08pm EDT

Hi Mr Dees. You are using today's current enrollment numbers at Mills Park Elem to project how many classrooms would be needed in 2021 when the K-3 mandate will take effect, correct? Would you agree that the enrollment trend is going down at Mills Park Elem? Would you also agree that simply moving established Cameron Pond students and replacing them with new capped students, will not solve the K-3 mandate unilaterally? Can you show us the current Carpenter enrollment numbers and use that to project the need for 2021 K-3 classrooms? How are you taking into account the hundreds of new construction homes (single family, townhomes, multi-family units) that will be part of the Carpenter base?

5 Votes
 
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Eric Li at October 17, 2018 at 6:03pm EDT

Dear Mr. Dees, How did you get your numbers? We would like to make an apple-to-apple comparison. If you include the estimated number of students coming from new developments, there is no question Mills Park Elementary will be overcrowded.

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Kevin Younge at October 17, 2018 at 9:31pm EDT

Matt,

When you make statements without transparent data, it inspires no confidence in the assignment plan.

Why are we making decisions based on “if the K3 mandate went into effect today”? This should be based on projected enrollment at the time the mandate goes into effect. Class sizes among current K-1 classrooms are much lower than previous years.

Please show us what the data looks like with the projected class sizes.

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Krissy Campbell at October 17, 2018 at 9:22pm EDT

What algorithm are you using to predict the # of additional classrooms required? Please provide data to prove your numbers and include similar calculations for the # of additional classrooms required at Carpenter ES.

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Julie Ju at October 17, 2018 at 9:15pm EDT

Can someone PLEASE provide clarification on the correct calculation for the Utilization number for year round schools? If 2021 is showing Mills Park will have 115% Utilization and Carpenter will have 121% Utilization, how do we normalize this to be able to compare them? The Working Session was throwing out random numbers that didn't make any sense at all. You need to be transparent about how you are coming up with your numbers.

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Krissy Campbell at October 17, 2018 at 9:35pm EDT

Is your data factoring in growth in base school areas? If so: 1. Carpenter ES will see more growth than Mills Park ES/MS as per development plans and the fact that Mills Park cannot have additional build sites in close proximity due to wetlands, park zones and fire department occupancy. * this supports keeping Cameron Pond at the Mills Park schools as implementation of the K-3 mandate will be MORE challenging at Carpenter ES. 2. Newer developments should not replace established neighborhoods. You cannot argue that this has not been included in your future predictions as Cameron Pond is aging out of the Mills Park schools, enrollment is decreasing, and yet somehow your utilization #s are the same, if not increasing.

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Krissy Campbell at October 17, 2018 at 9:46pm EDT

How can you use today's data to determine classroom requirements 3 years from now? This is why the assignment committee has grossly over-estimated the needs of Mills Park ES.
Have you done this with other schools as well, or was this a targeted manipulation of data to support removing Cameron Pond from Mills Park because you could not satisfy a single pillar with this proposed move?

7 Votes
 
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Hannah Kim at October 17, 2018 at 11:27pm EDT

Let’s assume this number is correct and say you need 5 additional classrooms to satisfy the K3 mandate at Mills Park Elementary by 2021. Do you have any data to support that moving Cameron Pond to Carpenter Elementary will solve this problem in any meaningful way? More specifically, how many additional classrooms would you need if you remove Cameron Pond from Mills Park Elementary? I am confident that the number will NOT change significantly since Cameron Pond will only produce 5 to 10 students per class from K through 3 in the next few years based on the most accurate raw data provided by the Cameron Pond community. However, let’s be generous and make another assumption that you might be able to cut the number from 5 to 3 classrooms by removing Cameron Pond. What would you do next? Would you start this vicious cycle again by shaving off more students and wreaking havoc on more families as you are doing now?

In addition, what kind of data do you have on Carpenter Elementary? More specifically, how many more classrooms do you need to satisfy the K3 mandate at Carpenter Elementary if it went into effect today? Again, I am confident that the number would be higher than that of Mills Park Elementary based on your own % utilization data. If the number is 5 or higher, what is your plan? How would you solve this if you are ADDING more children from Cameron Pond to Carpenter Elementary? Please do not pretend as if shuffling few children between Mills Park and Carpenter Elementary would solve the overcrowding and cap problems in the region. You cannot stop flooding by simply shuffling the same sandbags.

If changing the calendar (from traditional to year-round) at Mills Park is the ultimate solution per the school board, the assignment committee needs to come up with a realistic plan to implement this prior to the 2021 K3 mandate. These children deserve a more thoughtful and creative solution from all of you. I would like to also emphasize that something is not always better than nothing. In this case, moving Cameron Pond would be much worse than doing nothing and detrimental to everyone involved, including the WCPSS leadership, by violating every single pillar established by the WCPSS board policy. Most importantly, this haphazard proposal will put many children in harm’s way for absolutely no good reason, and it needs to be scrapped completely.

7 Votes
 
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Leslie Cramer at October 18, 2018 at 9:18am EDT

Please provide a detailed outline of the impact that K-3 class sizes changes will have on Carpenter Elementary School, Green Hope Elementary and Weatherstone Elementary? Exactly like the one provided in Draft 2 for Mills Park Elementary. It is only fair to have a comparison of all of these schools impact when making these changes. In Draft 2, slide 5, you do a analysis on MPE, yet you have not provided that detail for a single other elementary school in Wake County. Until this is complete, the School Board can not make a comparison for an informed decision. Further, the base geography for Carpenter has multiple housing construction projects planned that will be completed before the K-3 size changes are implemented. Have you planned for his at Carpenter? How?

5 Votes