School board narrows attendance line options, plans first vote at Thursday's meeting

On Thursday, Berkeley County School District will hold another meeting on proposed attendance line changes and also vote on first reading of one of the two plans. 

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Sangaree Middle School, and after hearing community feedback and presenting maps and proposed plans to the public, the school board will convene to vote, according to BCSD officials. 

The meeting is specifically for parents living in the Sangaree area whose students could be impacted by the district's proposed decision to redraw boundary lines.

While there were initially three possible options under consideration, school board members opted to cut Option A after a majority voiced their disdain for it during a Facilities Committee Meeting on Tuesday.

Remaining options, B and C, both suggest moving high school students in Sangaree from Cane Bay High School to Stratford High School. The difference between the two plans is where the dividing lines are drawn and number of students affected, which board member Sally Wofford pointed out during Tuesday's meeting.

"There's 100 students difference between options B and C," she said.

School board narrows attendance line options, plans first vote at Thursday's meeting

Option B map

School board narrows attendance line options, plans first vote at Thursday's meeting

Option C map

According to the district, the attendance line guidelines are proposing rising freshman in the modified zones attend Stratford starting this fall, unless students have "established athletic eligibility" for Cane Bay. Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors, however, can choose to stay at Cane Bay or transfer to Stratford.

The topic has surfaced in response to the district's ongoing growth, which the board addressed in December. At the time, Consultant Tony Park of Harding Parker & Associates laid out possible ideas for the district to consider, but only as temporary solutions.

According to board member David Barrow at this week's meeting, the Cane Bay area, in particular, is booming with growth - the high school gaining 140 to 150 students each school year.

"We're gaining 1,000 students annually (in the district), but most are in the Cane Bay area," he said.

Board member Kathy Littlejon voiced similar thoughts on the population rise, expressing how she thinks Cane Bay will simply "explode again" in another year.

Barrow also revealed that he prefers option B and has also heard multiple school principals in the modified zones tell him the same; However, he said regardless of which option is approved, Stratford will be overcrowded in a few years.

In board member Laura Kelly's opinion, option B is the "most aggressive" plan on the table; and her counterpart Ann Conder said during the meeting that she felt option C was the best. 

Attendance line meetings have occurred since January, and many parents in the potentially impacted areas have been outspoken about not wanting their children to change schools.

For more information on the attendance line changes, visit the Berkeley County School District website.

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