As a neighborhood that was reassigned three years ago (to schools on a different calendar), we felt the need to respond to Ms. Mahaffey’s comments on school reassignment during the recent District 8 candidate forum. Direct video link to her comments is included above. For background on our neighborhood’s reassignment, please visit:
Ms. Mahaffey states that capping is used to place new residents in overflow schools and retain the base school population – this is untrue. We were told we were being reassigned for two reasons:
1. To lower enrollment so that the cap could be removed.
2. To remove trailers from “instructional space”.
Three years later, neither of these have occurred. Highcroft is still capped, and trailers have not been removed. When asked why, we were told that removing caps is “a long term process”, and “trailers can no longer be removed because it was discovered that they were too costly to remove”
Ms. Mahaffey also states that capping causes transportation issues, which was also untrue in the case of our reassignment. The school that our small neighborhood was reassigned to (Turner Creek) is actually the overflow school for Highcroft. What this means is, there’s already buses going to all the neighborhoods in the Highcroft base zone, many of which at the time were running close to empty. Sending new residents to the overflow school would cause no burden on transportation. Instead, established residents were reassigned, and our children’s seats filled with new residents. To this day, the cap number has not been lowered at Highcroft – new residents continue to take our seats.
Ms. Mahaffey later states that the WCPSS student assignment team works “diligently with municipal planning departments, because we do not get to decide where new housing developments are built”. While the latter part of that statement is true, the former is not. WCPSS justified our reassignment with development “heat maps” that were completely inaccurate. It wasn’t until residents of our neighborhood spoke to the Town of Cary ourselves, that we found out that WCPSS’s heat maps, which showed rapid growth in our area over the next five years, were completely incorrect. Sure enough, there has been no development in the Highcroft zone in the three years since our reassignment, and none planned. The only open land within the Highcroft zone (on Green Level West Road), is slated to be a commercial destination center by the Town of Cary.
To this day we still do not have the facts as to why our neighborhood was reassigned. What we do know is that our district 8 board member (as well as other board members) was dishonest with us, and created turmoil for our children and neighborhood that could very much have been avoided.