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::Letter: Year Round Schools A Failure

The following is a letter to editor sent to the Raleigh Chronicle:

Dear Editors:

This letter was sent today to Dr. Del Burns, superintendent for Wake County Public School System, and was signed by 40 citizens of Wake County representing Raleigh, Cary and Apex.

Please consider running this letter in your upcoming issue. We hope you will wave any word count restrictions you may have and run the entire letter.

Parents and citizens of Wake County

Dear Dr. Burns:

The 20-day enrollment numbers for tracks 1, 2 and 3 are in, and when combined with numbers from track 4's first day, they are revealing.

Instead of the Office of Growth Management's projection of 18,789 students attending the 22 converted year-round schools, we have only 17,619 students1,170 less than projected, and more importantly, 658 less than the number of students who attended the schools when they were on a traditional schedule.

We don't have to point out to you that clearly, the conversions were a big mistake. The plan did NOT work.

All of our children attend Wake County Schools and we have been pleased with their education. As parents, we want them to get the most out of their Wake County education, and because of that, we truly want this school system to succeed.

However, it cannot succeed when faulty plans are implemented, and that is exactly what has happened.

Therefore, we are asking you to replace Chuck Dulaney with a Superintendent of Growth Management who shows not only compassion for ALL of Wake County's children, but who can also make sound, common sense decisions that are proven to work.

The 2007-2008 reassignment plan that Mr. Dulaney proposed and that you and the Board of Education accepted (with the exception of Mr. Margiotta) has been proven illegal, has actually resulted in lower enrollment at the converted schools, and has therefore failed our students and caused unnecessary grief and turmoil for families across the county. 

The real issue here, and reason for replacing Mr. Dulaney, is the failure of mandatory year-round assignment and absence of enrollment efficiencies, which can only be realized with full voluntary enrollment forced from a base.

Many parents are calling for your resignation, Dr. Burns.

Yet we feel, as do many other parents we have spoken with, that you can help correct the problems that resulted from this disastrous plan by dismissing Mr. Dulaney, and replacing him with someone who can present a more logical, workable reassignment plan that balances traditional schools with voluntary year-round schools.

It's not too late for you to do the right thing. You have the power to steer this ship toward a new horizon that promises choice for all of Wake County's studentsnot just a select few.

We believe you will find that when you give parents a choice, they are more fervently able to support their children and assist the system in their child's education. As an example, I would like to refer you to the Kipp Schools, which are located throughout the country and consist of 100 percent low-income children.

More than 80 percent of those students are at or above grade level, and all of them are there because their parents chose for them to be. Please, Dr. Burns, do not underestimate the power of choice and the good it can bring to this school system.

We would also like to request that you include a review of the failed reassignment plan and Mr. Dulaney's involvement in it on the agenda of the very next Board of Education meeting.

The public expects to hear from all of you about this. We will all be paying attention.

Corporations dismiss employees for failures such as those Mr. Dulaney is responsible for, and we would expect you to handle this the same way, before parents begin requesting your dismissal as well. Please help us help you.

Signed by 40 disappointed but hopeful residents of Raleigh, Cary and Apex. ::

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Emily Kiser reports on crime stories for The Raleigh Chronicle newspaper and has been reporting on the Raleigh area since 2005.