Community concerned over potential CCSD plan to move students to new schools

VIDEO: Community concerned over potential CCSD plan to move students to new schools

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents, teachers, and community members are concerned about a proposal that would turn Mitchell Elementary School into a middle school.

During a Charleston County School District committee meeting on Sept. 16, district officials came up with a number of recommendations to overhaul the school system.

One of those recommendations would be to consolidate three elementary schools into two.

This would require rezoning students from Mitchell Elementary and send them to Memminger Elementary School and Charleston Progressive Academy.

The Mitchell campus would be renovated and turned into a middle school that would house middle school students from Buist Academy, James Simmons Montessori, and Charleston Development Middle School.

Although the proposal wasn’t something that was up for discussion during Monday’s school board meeting, many people came out to speak out against it.

Emily Kerr is the founder of Charleston Hope, a non-profit program that works with title I schools to enhance school culture, and says the program started at Mitchell elementary and they have been working with them for a while.

Under this new proposal she is worried about the impact it would have on the students and programs like Charleston Hope.

“There’s probably 20 or 30 community partners that support Mitchell in some way,” said Kerr. “All of those partners would either have to step away or have to go and rebuild what they’ve been doing at Mitchell at a different school, which is very difficult.”

Akilah Berry went to Mitchell Elementary and all her children have either gone to Mitchell or are still at the school.

She believes this plan would not benefit anyone.

“There are other elementary schools on the peninsula that we could’ve sent our children to, but we chose Mitchell for a reason,” said Berry.

Jeff Borowy, the chief operating officer for the school district, says that this proposal would offer more opportunities to many students.

“Right now, we’ve got six middle schools that service less than 500 students,” said Borowy. “If we have an opportunity to put more middle school children in one place, we can offer them more curriculum options.”

Borowy says Mitchell Elementary was chosen because it is the only elementary school that hasn’t been renovated yet.

There will be a number of public forums held where district officials will be able to talk to people about these proposals. The district says they will also reach out to the parents of affected schools individually.

Borowy says this is the time for them to hear what people think so they can take the input and bring forward a new plan with adjusted recommendations if needed.

The school board could make a decision about this proposal by November, but the plan would not be implemented until 2021.

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