CCSD board approves broad-sweeping changes, Minnie Hughes avoids closure

VIDEO: CCSD board approves broad-sweeping changes, Minnie Hughes avoids closure

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District board approved broad-sweeping changes during its Monday meeting that will affect more than two dozen schools.

The proposed changes, listed below, will close some schools and merge others, but one school avoided closure. Minnie Hughes Elementary was one vote away from being merged with E.B. Ellington, but after the board’s chair Eric Mack voiced his opposition to the merger, the change was removed from the agenda.

  1. Transition Mary Ford Elementary into an early education center and rezone all of those students Chicora Elementary: Approved
  2. Combine Lambs, Hunley Park and Goodwin elementary schools on to one campus at Lambs and create a universal 4K and 5K preschool and family engagement center at either Hunley Park or Goodwin: Approved
  3. Remove fifth-graders from Haut Gap Middle School and make it for sixth to eighth graders only: Approved
  4. Categorize 15 of the district’s lowest-performing schools as “acceleration schools:" Approved
  5. Close Minnie Hughes Elementary School and rezone all those students to E. B. Ellington: This item was removed from the agenda. The district and board will meet to discuss what happens next.
  6. Create an advanced academic program at West Ashley High School: Approved
  7. Consolidate two district 10 middle schools, so sixth graders would attend West Ashley Middle School and seventh and eighth graders would attend C.E. Williams Middle School: Approved
  8. Study the feasibility of creating one Montessori Middle School to house seventh and eighth-grade students from Murray LaSaine, James Simons, Hursey, and Montessori Community schools for 2020-2021: Approved
  9. Build a new Ladson elementary school at Ingleside and convert the current Ladson Elementary into a universal 4K and 5K preschool and family engagement center: Approved
  10. Create a new Johns Island elementary school, location to be decided: Approved

Three proposed changes, which have already passed one vote, were not set to be discussed in Monday’s meeting. Instead, changes regarding several schools’ academic magnet status as well as changes to Buist Academy and Memminger Elementary are scheduled to be voted on during the board’s Dec. 16 meeting.

Each of the following only needs one more vote before becoming official.

  1. Eliminate the partial magnet status of James B. Edwards Elementary, Zucker Middle School, and Mitchell Elementary; Make Haut Gap the advanced studies constituent magnet open to all eligible District 9 and Camp Road Middle students; Let Sullivan’s Island Elementary keep its partial magnet status: Still needs second vote to become official
  2. Change Buist Academy to a school for only third to eighth graders and revise the eligibility and selection process: Still needs second vote to become official
  3. Create a K-2 advanced academic program at Memminger: Still needs second vote to become official

Last week, lawmakers asked the district again to hold off on voting on any of the proposed changes because of concerns and confusion about them. More than 20 state lawmakers signed a letter asking the district to slow down. Their meeting with the school board is now scheduled for Dec. 13.

In the same meeting, the board reelected Rev. Dr. Eric Mack as chair and Kate Darby as vice chair.

The school board’s next meeting is on Monday, Dec. 16.

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