Charleston Co. School Board votes to close Lincoln Middle-High School

VIDEO: Charleston Co. School Board votes to close Lincoln Middle-High School
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School Board voted on Monday to close Lincoln Middle-High School. The board also voted to raise commercial property taxes.

The board voted 6-3 on the proposal to close the school at the end of the 2015-2016 school year due to lack of funding and low enrollment.

High school students will go to Wando, while middle school students will go to St. James Santee.

"A collaborative transition plan, including a plan to provide academic, social and emotional support for students will be implemented immediately," CCSD officials say."Two additional, air conditioned buses will be provided to transport students."

According to the district, by July 2016, the board will begin developing a timeline and budget for construction of a new school on land that the district is purchasing in Awendaw.

"The district will work with students who wish to transfer to a school other than Wando," CCSD officials said.

Jane Edwards Elementary on Edisto Island was also on the chopping block at the special school board meeting.

But the board voted unanimously to keep Jane Edwards open for one more year to discuss options.

Several supporters for keeping the schools open showed up with signs at the meeting with one sign stating,"Keep our doors and minds open."

Fifty-five people spoke before the board returned with their vote.

"We have had families that have had to make that decision to move because of the instability whether or not year to year we will remain open it's difficult to plan ahead," a teacher at Jane Edwards, Kathy Mayer said earlier.

The district says it is not possible to give the same level of program at schools that have low enrollment.

Both Lincoln Middle-High and Jane Edwards were put under the microscope because of their small size and high cost for the district.

At Jane Edwards it costs around $20,000 per student every year.

Officials say the district average is nearly half that.

A district official says Lincoln Middle-High has low enrollment and is the second most expensive school in the district, spending more than $23,000 per student.
If the Board of Trustees took action to close both schools Monday night, Jane Edwards would stay open until the end of the 2017 school year.

The Board says it will explore other options for maintaining a school on Edisto Island, as Jane Edwards is the only public school on the island.

If Lincoln Middle-High should close at the end of the 2016 school year, however, school officials say those students would likely go to Wando High School about 20 miles away. 
Members of the NAACP have been outspoken about these closures.

They say black students will be hurt the most with the school closings.

In a 6-3 vote, the board approved a 9.6 millage increase. That tax increase will save several positions, including assistant principals, and programs. 
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