School board to give final vote Tuesday on attendance line plan

Berkeley County School District Superintendent Eddie Ingram and Board Chair Sally Wofford

Berkeley County School Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to give second and final reading to a plan to shift attendance lines next school year, possibly impacting about 687 high schoolers in the Cane Bay and Sangaree area.

If approved, the plan will go into effect this fall and is a temporary way for the district to ease overcrowding at Cane Bay High School.

Board members passed first reading of an attendance line plan, Option C, at its special-called meeting on Feb. 28 at Sangaree Middle School. All members voted in favor of the plan, except for Ann Conder who abstained.

The vote occurred after district officials met with concerned parents and teachers and presented details of the plan. Student transportation was a top concern among attendees and board members. At the time, the kinks about busing had yet to be ironed out.

The plan proposes moving students from Cane Bay High to Stratford High School. District officials said Cane Bay High, not allowed to setup classroom trailers, currently has 2,130 students—over capacity by about 400, but that Stratford High has 1,750 students, with capacity for 2,200.

The plan primarily affects rising freshmen—allowing rising sophomores, juniors and seniors the choice to stay at Cane Bay or transfer to Stratford. However, any rising freshman, living in a modified zone, who has “established athletic eligibility” for Cane Bay, doesn’t have to transfer, according to the plan’s guidelines.

Other exceptions are for rising freshmen who've "established eligibility/presence in athletics, art, band, chorus, theater, and orchestra," according to the plan. They have the option to attend Cane Bay High.

A sibling clause also allows siblings living in the same home and attending school in the same year to attend Cane Bay High if the oldest sibling remains a student there.

The district’s been considering attendance line changes since February 2017, when the board said they started compiling a capital plan. Board members initially entertained three different plans, narrowing it down to one last month.

Board Chair Sally Wofford told the crowd, at the last meeting, that she believes that if the board doesn’t address overcrowding now, parents will later voice concern about their children remaining in congested schools when there “were seats at another school.” She also said she understands the challenge of switching schools, because she, too, faced a similar season as a teen when her high school closed.

Tuesday’s meeting is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at Foxbank Elementary School, with executive session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Committee meetings will occur after the board meeting.

To view the meeting agenda, visit bcsdschools.net.

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