Thursday, September 28, 2006

Please read…

…this important announcement from the StopMandatoryYearRound grassroots group!

"StopMandatoryYearRound has organized a protest picket to oppose the WCPSS efforts to substantially increase and impose Mandatory Multi-track Year-Round.
This event takes place Tuesday, October 3rd from 11-1 at the WCPSS building, 3600 Wake Forest Rd.

StopMandatoryYearRound enthusiastically supports SOS Wake's efforts to oppose MYR, especially in regards to your online petition.

Many community members and groups are creating signs to carry at the event.

We welcome and encourage petition participants to join with us. Your voice needs to be heard, your face needs to be seen, and your vote needs to be considered.

The WCPSS current direction to install an enrollment policy that would take our district to where a majority of students are assigned to Mandatory Multi-track Year-Round schools.

As alternative solutions have not been exhausted, we find this direction is unacceptable, especially as it will cause sever hardship to families, communities and organizations.

The current directive to convert 22 schools to MYR for `07-08 should be halted.
Alternative solutions at traditional calendar campuses should first be exhausted.
Volunteer YR should be expanded, and all feasible applications should be accepted, not denied.
The right bond with sufficient funding of schools and without MYR should be presented for endorsement.

It’s now or never. Join with others on Tuesday, October 3rd and let your collective voices ring out: MYR is wrong for our families and community.

For more information on this important issue please visit our website at"


Friday, September 22, 2006

A Letter To The School Board Last Night

From: Louise C. Lee

Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 10:17 PM



Subject: Signatures Against Mandatory Year-Round School Attendance in Wake County

Dear School Board Members,

Just FYI - I am sending you the petition opposing mandatory year-round school conversions which shows 100 new names that have been added in the past 4 days. Can someone please explain to me why you continue to ignore these citizens? How can you justify remarks indicating that there is not a drastic difference in the number of "pro" comments and the number of "con" comments that you have received? No wonder these people are upset! Wouldn't you be? Other elected leaders are seeing this same petition - I can assure you, they are paying attention.
I have been very open with the School Board since day one, and have tried for years to work with you. The public deserves no less. They just want some logical answers. Is that too much to ask?

Thank you-- and please don't forget to read the comments. They are addressed specifically to you.

Louise Lee

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday SOSWake

Note: This post was put up by Louise's husband, even though the "posted by" tag says Louise.

One year ago today she didn't know if she could do it, but she has. I have to say that I am quite proud of what a "blogger" my bride has turned out to be.

Happy First Blogoversary, SOSWake!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On The Radio Thursday

At 12 noon on Thursday, September 21, I will participate in a live discussion on WUNC (91.5 FM) radio's The State of Things. The discussion will be about the mandatory year-round controversy in Wake County. I'm not sure who the other guests will be. Please pray that I represent our cause with wisdom and clarity. Thanks!

You can listen to WUNC Radio Live Streams here:
Windows Media
Real Audio

Monday, September 18, 2006

School Board Vote on Middle School Conversions

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2 PM, the Wake County School Board will vote on the mandatory year-round school conversion of up to 5 middle schools. Elementary is bad enough, but a multi-track year-round schedule for middle schools creates a whole new set of serious problems. Please attend if at all possible! I will attend part of the Committee of the Whole meeting at 12:00, but I regret to say that I have a previously scheduled meeting which will prevent me from speaking at the 2:00 time-slot. My other meeting, however, is to discuss this entire forced year-round school issue with a key player in the campaign to push the bond. I will be there in spirit for sure!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Parents Speak Out

Well, today’s anti-mandatory year-round meeting in Apex drew quite a crowd. Roughly 500 people attended, which I think is a great showing on a pretty Sunday afternoon! Nine “panelists” focused on various aspects of the issue in a shared power point presentation. There were some elected officials in attendance, including County Commissioners Tony Gurley and Joe Bryan, Representative Nelson Dollar, Mayor Keith Weatherly of Apex, Mayor Dick Sears of Holly Springs, some candidates vying for seats in the November election, and of course School Board member Ron Margiotta (who received a standing ovation even before he spoke).

Thanks to all of you who came, or who were there in spirit. More posting tomorrow, but it is late. It's been a long day, and I need to sleep for now.

Here are some photos from the forum:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Countywide Forum On Sunday

I received this press release and wanted to pass it on to you:

APEX, N.C. (Updated Sept. 13, 2006)
Stop Mandatory Year-Round, an organization opposed to the implementation of a student assignment policy forcing families to attend a mandatory multi-track year-round school calendar, will hold a countywide forum at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Apex Town Hall Campus on 73 Hunter Street in the community center gym. This facility has the capacity to accommodate 800 hundred people seated and an overflow capacity for additional participants.

This forum will offer answers to many parents' questions about how their school will be affected by mandatory year-round reassignment— even if their school is not on the list to be converted to a mandatory multi-track year-round calendar in 2007-2008. The forum will also provide suggestions and resources for parents and homeowners who choose to take a stand against this reassignment policy.Elected officials and candidates are invited to attend this forum. An open microphone will be provided to the public in order to speak on this issue. After the forum, all attendees will be able to move outside of Town Hall to the common area for further discussion with officials and candidates and community networking."Mandatory multi-track year-round poses one of the most serious threats to families and homeowners that this county has seen in recent history," said Dave Duncan of Stop Mandatory Year-Round. "There is hope to turn the tide, but only if voices unite and elected or soon-to-be elected officials listen. We hope to provide an informational and constructive forum, providing context and next steps to turn this ship around."


A public hearing on the proposal to convert certain middle schools to mandated year-round calendars will be held TONIGHT (Thursday, September 14), at 7 p.m. at Sanderson High School. Online sign-up and comments can be made by going to the Wake County Public Schools’ website at, but don’t wait too late. Even if you don’t speak, come and show your support for those fighting against these forced conversions!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bold Alternatives

This citizen has some interesting points in the Cary News opinion section. You may not agree with all of his ideas, but you have to give him credit for "thinking outside the box".

Inadvertent Growth Control by WCPSS?

From The Cary News:

School shift deters some homebuyers
“I had a couple come in the other day and ask me point blank, ‘what is this mess going on with public schools in Wake County,’” [Margaret] Struble [a Realtor from Cary] said. “Another family I had from Long Island has chosen not to move here. They have kids in elementary and middle school and said there’s just no way they’d consider it at this point.”

Struble said this is coming at a time when the real estate market is already slowing down, especially with homes above the $300,000 price range.

Email Links

Quite a few people have asked "How do I contact...?" So, I have just added some permanent links over on the right side of the blog that can be used to email the School Board, the County Commissioners, and the members of the General Assembly who are from Wake County. I also put the link in for writing a letter to the editor at the News and Observer. (I know that some of the GA members are "lame ducks" right now, but they are still our representatives until the new members take office next year, and they are fellow citizens of Wake County.)

For my RSS readers who do not typically view the whole site, here are the links:
Email the Wake County School Board
Email the Wake County Commissioners
Email the Wake County Members of the NC General Assembly
Write a Letter to the Editor of the N&O

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Coming Up This Week

This is posted on the WCPSS Website:

September 6, 2006 - The Board of Education is now taking comments online about the potential conversion of East Garner, East Wake, Leesville, North Garner, Salem and Wakefield Middle Schools to a multi-track year-round calendar. The online comment period ends Thursday, September 14, at 5 p.m.

A public hearing on this issue will be held on Thursday, September 14, at 7 p.m. at Sanderson High School. Online speaker sign up opened at 9 a.m. on Thursday, September 7.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Reasonable Requests

Here are three logical and reasonable requests that I am voicing to the School Board and Administration. If they are TRULY sincere about "we don't want to do this mandating, but we have no choice" rhetoric, then I'm SURE they would jump at the chance to find another viable option. Right?? :^) Okay then -

  1. SHOW us (on paper) a "what if" scenario where those who have volunteered for year-rounds are put in year-rounds. If they are all kindergarteners, fine - I want to see that for myself.
  2. SHOW us (on paper) what would happen IF, for example, they compromised (perish the thought) the tiniest bit on the 40% F&R ratio in areas where the high growth is occurring. There are already schools (30 maybe??) that don't adhere to that ratio. I'm talking 38% instead of 40, for example - or whatever. You would still have a similar ratio (which they're determined to keep), but would minor tweaking open up many seats? I want to know!
  3. SHOW us how many of the 3,000 slots could be filled IF you added students to classes that are already under-enrolled, or IF you increased certain classrooms to even 1 student over capacity. Yes, I know that would take legislative action, but that's not out of the question. I also know, as a former teacher, that smaller classes are better. But - under the circumstances, adding 1 or 2 to your class, provided you're not already over-capacity, would create far fewer problems than what is currently being proposed.

My logical mind just can't understand why these "what if" scenarios were not researched long ago. Or, if they were, then why can't we see the findings? That is not too much to ask, and these are very reasonable requests. Anyway, that's my answer to those who keep asking , "Okay, then what do YOU propose?" It's cheap and do-able. If it comes up empty, then at least I'll know they tried.

Problem is, as everybody knows, ASKING the S.Board and the Administration to do something, and GETTING them to do it are two different things! It's such a disservice that no two-way conversations can ever take place between the public and the Board. There's no way to demand an answer from them and hold them accountable.

Sooo... I will pass these suggestions on to the Co. Commissioners and other leaders in Wake Co., maybe even to our General Assembly members, and solicit their help in pushing for some answers. Not that it will help, but there's always a chance! Especially since they want the bond to pass, and it won't unless another option is found.

Lastly (and I'm sorry this is so long!!), I am continuing to talk one-on-one with other folks in Wake County who are not necessarily in the limelight, but who are well-thought-of, well-known citizens who definitely can influence the opinions of others. I spoke with such a friend yesterday who has no involvement in education now that her children are on their own. She said she had no idea that this Mandatory Y.R. decision would affect the entire county. A major goal of mine, and I have plans in mind, is to highly publicize the repercussions of the School Board's decision on ALL citizens in Wake County. Please join me in this effort, and send the facts out to those acquaintances who are not directly involved.

Thanks for all of the support!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's Not Over

Well, the big vote was today. Ron Margiotta was the lone dissenter in the Wake School Board’s decision to convert 19 elementary schools to mandatory year-round. No surprise there! The room was full, but not overflowing– and many people spoke against the conversion. I’m really afraid too many people have the mindset of, “it’s a done deal – no use wasting my time fighting it”. Not that I can blame anyone. When you fight year after year and feel like your words fall on deaf ears, it’s only normal to get discouraged.

Please don’t give up now, though, when you’re needed more than ever. County leaders need to know that the bond is doomed to failure if they insist on proceeding as planned. If enough teachers, parents, and other citizens rise up against this, I truly believe that they will have to back off. Plus, believe it or not, word about this is just now getting out to many people. As the truth about mandatory year-round conversion spreads - which it will - , it will become evident that far-reaching negative repercussions will be felt by all.

So far, the reaction to the mandate has been just as predicted months and months ago. There will, I believe, come a time when the School Board will no longer be able to ignore reality. Excellent teachers have already left our system, and others have promised to leave if forced to choose between their career and their family. Please continue to fight against a plan that calls on parents to compromise their intrinsic knowledge about what is best for their children. This goes so much deeper than an extra week or two at the beach. As I’ve told the School Board over and over, for thousands of families, a traditional school calendar is not just a preference, it is a necessity.

Thanks for all the support out there! Keep telling others about the petition, and I will continue to publicize updated tallies and comments. Also, remember to read blog entries from the past few weeks, and even earlier. Some important information has been shared in previous postings. I’m just getting warmed up for this battle! Are you with me?

Read The Comments Left By Petition Signers

Here are the comments of the signers of the Petition Against Mandatory Year-Round School Attendance in Wake County as of early this afternoon. I’ve sorted them in reverse chronological order, with the signers who did not leave a comment coming after the signers who did leave a comment. The yellow fields indicate those who identified themselves as being educators or otherwise employed by WCPSS. This information has been available all along over at the petition page, but I wanted to put it in an easier to read format.

(Adobe Acrobat software is needed to read the pdf. If you do not have that package, you can get it for free.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Please Read And Distribute!!

As you prepare for the School Board meeting tomorrow, I would strongly urge you to read two previous SOSWake posts. One from the factual side, and the other from the heart. This issue is about both.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What Timing!

Is WCPSS.NET intermittently up and down today?? It sure looks that way to us. We have not been able to send email to anyone, or even reach since late last night. My IT geek (his words) husband thinks it is probably coincidental, but he wonders why you would be able to get to the Office of Growth Management site by IP address, but not get anywhere else on the network by name.

On the positive side (for them), if this continues through the weekend, at least the School Board members will not have to wade through a lot of email that contains disagreeable opinions before the meeting on Tuesday.

UPDATE: It looks like they've been back up since about 5:10PM.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Disturbing Quotes

Keung Hui posted the following quotes on his N&O blog this afternoon. If these quotes by certain School Board members are accurate, then we need to keep blasting hundreds of emails to them, even if just to say, “I am still opposed to mandatory year-round school attendance.” Statements such as theirs should only make us more determined than ever to stop being treated as if we don’t exist. This is all the more reason we need to show up in droves at the 2:00 School Board meeting on Tuesday. Please spread the word to all citizens who want to maintain a say-so in how our schools are run – not just to those parents whose schools are on the conversion list. Here’s a portion of what Mr. Hui wrote:

“Given the change, we only heard a limited number of people expressing a strong opinion,” Parry said. “We need to keep this in mind.”
While choice between traditional and year-round calendars is important, board vice chairwoman Rosa Gill said “choice shouldn’t be a guiding factor.”
Board member Beverley Clark added that when people say they want choice, they really mean they don’t want change.
“Change is much harder for adults than children,” Clark said. “Choice is perceived as a way of avoiding change.”

Let them hear from you!

Still On The Fence?

If you or someone you know is “on the fence” about mandatory year-round schools, please take a look at this flyer that was created by Wake County parent Marcy Cox. Thanks to Marcy for permission to post it here.


REMEMBER that this coming Tuesday, September 5, the Wake County School Board is to release the names of the schools they have kept on the mandatory year-round conversion list. The meeting will begin at 2:00 in the Administrative offices on Wake Forest Road., but I wouldn’t wait until the last minute because parking is sometimes a problem. A huge turnout at this meeting will make a strong statement, not only to the board members, but to everyone who reads and/or sees about this in the media. In spite of what you’re being told, DON’T believe for a minute that this is already a “done deal”!! In fact, after the official vote on Tuesday, opposition to the forcing of year-round school attendance will increase. Plans have been underway to spread information to the public, and to rally opposition groups. This is far from over, and never forget that an awful lot is going on behind the scenes! Please make every effort to come to the meeting on Tuesday, and bring others with you. This is very important!!!