RALEIGH — A plan to expand Wake County’s magnet school program is drawing complaints that the development is a case of school leaders favoring older, established neighborhoods in Raleigh.
School administrators want Jeffreys Grove and Stough elementary schools in Raleigh and Hodge Road Elementary School in Knightdale to become magnet schools so that families across the district can attend the language immersion programs at the schools. But administrators also want Daniels Middle School and Broughton High School in Raleigh to become magnet schools to create a K-12 immersion/global studies theme.
Critics question magnetizing Broughton and Daniels, both of which are located near Cameron Village and serve some of Raleigh’s most affluent neighborhoods.
“Wake County is pandering to the wealthy inside-the-Beltline families,” said Allison Backhouse, an Apex parent and critic of the school board. “They’re going to use taxpayer money to keep the children of the wealthy.”
Administrators say there are multiple reasons to magnetize both schools, including helping to draw neighborhood children who have a choice of attending private schools and charter schools. Magnet school supporters say that the state’s largest school district has a vested interest in making sure that all schools are efficiently used.
“You can’t let your inside-the-Beltline schools be empty,” said Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition. “If you do, what are you going to do? Let them close like in Charlotte?”