Parents upset over Cane Bay Elementary enrollment lottery

No sibling clause for new kindergarten students

VIDEO: Parents upset over Cane Bay Elementary enrollment lottery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents hoping to enroll their kindergartners at Cane Bay Elementary will have to rely on luck. This year’s registration process for the school’s limited classroom seats will end with a lottery drawing held on Facebook live.

In December 2019, the Berkeley County School Board approved capacity restrictions for Cane Bay Elementary to try to manage the school’s growth.

The district’s first-ever attendance cap limits the school to 1,250 students. There are just nine kindergarten classrooms at the site with capacity for about 24 students each.

District officials said students advancing from pre-K are already promised seats in the fall, but it will be new kindergarten students who are subject to the enrollment lottery.

“BCSD shared information regarding new student enrollment for the coming year based on changes required in response to COVID-19 restrictions and the need to ensure equitable access to enrollment for all students,” BCSD spokesperson Katie Tanner said.

However, some parents are frustrated and anxious about the possibility their student’s number won’t be drawn.

District officials said there is no sibling clause, which means students won’t have any advantage if a brother or sister already attends Cane Bay schools.

“If his name doesn’t get chosen, I’m tempted to just pull everybody out and look at private schools or homeschooling,” Cane Bay parent Rene Hightower said. “It’s definitely memories that are being taken away from the kids. They never thought about the kids at all during this decision, I think. They really should have thought about the impact for them too, not just the stress for the parents, because that’s a whole other ball game, especially for full-time, working parents.”

Other parents said they were upset because they specifically moved to the area so their children could attend Cane Bay schools.

“They’re moving into this neighborhood, just as myself, and not knowing that this is a potential,” Cane Bay parent Nicole Stevens said. “It’s really, really frustrating and really scary to have them in two different places, especially a kindergartner who is only going to be five to be going to a school without his sister. And then there’s always the idea that I could pull her and have her go to the other school with him but then I come back to the point of, I moved to Cane Bay for Cane Bay schools.”

New student registration starts on May 11 at 12:01 a.m., and it will all be done online this year because of restrictions in place due to the coronavirus.

However, if a family does not have internet access, they can call the school to schedule an appointment to do the registration through a kiosk.

The lottery drawing will be held on May 25th via facebook live on Cane Bay Elementary’s facebook page.

If the number of lottery registrations exceeds the number of available kindergarten spots, numbers will continue to be drawn to begin the waitlist, according to the district’s website. Kindergarten registration does not end on May 20, 2020, at 11:59 pm. The registration remains open; however your child will not be eligible for the 2020-2021 kindergarten lottery if the registration is not completed by that date and time.

Additional information about the CBE/CBM enrollment cap

Documents needed for registration - detailed document w/ links

  • Birth Certificate (long form)
  • Immunization record (SC form)
  • Two proofs of current residency
  • Parent Identification

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