Lines drawn: New school zone map angers some in North Charleston community

Zoning controversy over new North Charleston elementary school

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - In 22 years of service, North Charleston city council member Dorothy Williams is ready to draw the line.

Williams has been a strong voice of opposition, in light of proposed school zone changes for Charleston County District 4.

The zone was re-structured in response to new elementary school, Meeting Street Elementary at Brentwood on Leeds Avenue.

In a letter to Charleston County School Superintendent Nancy McGinley, the County's Board of Trustees, and District 4's Constituent Board, Williams argued students who stand to benefit most, have been left out of the equation with the release of the new map.

"They picked Brentwood, Wando, Oakbrook, going further down Dorchester Road, when we have the Waylyn subdivision connected to Brentwood," she said.

"It's wrong. Nothing has changed since 1960.  It's just that they're doing it a different way."

Meeting Street Elementary at Brentwood is open to all North Charleston community members within the approved zone, and includes additional resources, such as an extended school day, free medical and dental screenings, two teachers per classroom, along with three meals each day.

In response to the zone changes, Associate Superintendent James Winbush said the map factored in the number of children in each neighborhood of age to attend the elementary school.

He also said constituent board members worked to minimize the impact on surrounding elementary schools before finalizing the zone changes.

"If they feel it was done justifiably, why would they not respond to me, or communicate with me," Dorothy Williams asked.

Meeting Street Academy Chief of Staff Chris Allen is hoping the Brentwood school will serve as a model for schools across the Lowcountry.

"Our hope really is that over the next few years of operating this school, the lessons that are being learned here will be able to grow outside of this attendance zone into schools in other attendance zones," he said.

The school is set to open in time for the 2014-2015 academic year.

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