CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Monday night, the Charleston County School Board voted 5 to 3 to turn Murray-LaSaine Elementary School into a full Montessori school.
The decision came after months of debate. Former superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley had said she wanted the school to continue with a dual-track program with half traditional and half-Montessori classes, where students have more independent learning and classrooms with students of several different ages.
The argument came down to demand.
Board member Reverend Chris Collins said full Montessori goes against the district's survey.
"If the board votes against the actual survey from the parents that tells me that we don't care about the truth," Collins said. "We don't care about the community. I mean the numbers stand for themselves."
Cheri Knight has a child in the Montessori track at Murray-LaSaine and said the school feels segregated.
About four out of five African American families prefer traditional education and more white families select the Montessori track.
"There isn't a wait list for traditional program," Knight said. "There is a hefty wait list [for Montessori] across the board. 80 only at Murray-LaSaine, but there's 200 at East Cooper."
The transition will start this year and be phased out grade by grade so no current students will have to switch.