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Ravisha Weerasinghe started this petition to Wake County Board of Education, NC

This is an online petition asking the Wake County Public School (WCPSS) board to keep children of MacArthur Park at Green Hope High School (GHHS); not rezone them to Apex High as planned in the 2019-20 enrollment proposal.

We’d like to ask again for your consideration in reevaluating this proposed move as it does not fit into any of the stated main drivers for this plan: the opening of four new schools, to reduce overcrowding, or as an application school change. Our reasons for opposing are as follows:

1. Overcrowding - Without including us in the reassignment plan, the utilization numbers from the drafts shows a continued decrease for the following 4 years at GHHS. As categorized by WCPSS, MacArthur Park is a NEGATIVE GROWTH neighborhood and will further help drop the utilization numbers through the years. The projected GHHS utilization for the school based on current trends (based on WCPSS data) shows that overcrowding addresses itself through non-interfering attrition.

The utilization numbers for Apex HS under this plan puts it at 98% at the same time GHHS drops to 85% even with MacArthur Park remaining at GHHS.

2. Stability – Our neighborhood has been assigned to GHHS since it opened; 19 years. We are a no-growth neighborhood and are looking for stability, “parent feedback” that was not acknowledged in the Draft 2 presentation.

We have been reassigned endlessly for the past 10 years and have had our elementary, middle, base and application schools each changed repeatedly over the years. And with DDES and DDMS closed to transfers, our families are forced to more distant schools or a year-round school schedule that is challenging for many families in our diverse neighborhood.

Green Hope HS has been our one constant and stable factor during years of unpredictably and uncertainty.

3. Proximity – Both Davis Drive Middle School (DDMS) and Davis Drive Elementary School (DDES) schools are currently accessible with sidewalks and a crossing guard. The new greenway will connect MacArthur Park to the Davis Drive campus and make accessibility even easier than it is today. The White Oak Greenway which will connect MacArthur Park to the Davis Drive campus will be .25 miles.

The Town of Cary has invested $7 million dollars for this portion of the greenway – it extends from MacArthur Drive to Davis Drive and will include a tunnel going under the train tracks and Davis Drive to connect it directly to school grounds.

4. Correct Neighborhood split - The assignment plan prioritizes re-unifying some neighborhoods. We have continually requested that our neighborhood not be split and given DDES, DDMS, and GHHS, with Laurel Park Elementary (LPES) and Salem Middle School as application options for those that prefer year-round. In 2008-2009, the neighborhood was split at the elementary level. Those streets that opened to Waldo Rood stayed at Davis Drive schools and those that opened to MacArthur were assigned to LPES. Davis Drive schools remained the traditional calendar option. The following “school choice” years saw Salem Middle become the base assignment for the streets that opened to MacArthur. Subsequent assignment plans and capping saw DDMS removed as an option for most students. The current assignment draft is the final schism in our neighborhood.

5. Efficiency - We suggest including maximizing transportation efficiencies, etc. ∙ DDES uses fewer buses than most schools due to proximity to the school saving the district in transportation costs. The crossing guard costs are borne by the municipality. ∙ Green Hope’s classes have continued to get smaller. Last year’s freshman class was under 600, and the principal anticipates this year’s is smaller still. Forcing more students to the year-round options and moving our portion of the neighborhood will significantly increase the cost of transportation to the district because of the cost of additional busing. The state already doesn’t bear the full cost of transportation.

While the WCPSS board may not be able or willing to address reassignment back to DDE and DDMS in the plan this year, aligning DDES and DDMS schools into the neighborhood as our base school options, with year-round application options, will reduce costs in transportation, increase efficiency and correct the neighborhood split thereby maintaining stability for our neighborhood and not affecting overcrowding at the schools. Keeping GHHS as our base school will maintain stability, proximity and operational efficiency and will not affect overcrowding or transportation costs.

We are hopeful that the WCPSS board will take these facts into consideration when deciding on the future of our children and not include the MacArthur Park Community in this reassignment proposal.  The health and well-being of our children and their families are more important than anything to our community.  We are confident that WCPSS will be able to find an alternative plan to the one currently proposed and keep our children at Green Hope High School.

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