Cane Bay parents protest kindergarten lottery registration and school zoning

VIDEO: Cane Bay parents protest kindergarten lottery registration and school zoning

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some parents are demanding the Berkeley County School District change the enrollment process and zoning for Cane Bay area schools.

Dozens of them showed up to protest outside the school board’s budget workshop Tuesday night.

Parents are upset about the district’s new lottery system for enrolling kindergarten students at Cane Bay Elementary.

District officials said the drawing will give every student zoned for the school a fair chance at the limited number of seats available since an attendance cap for the school was approved in December.

However, some parents were not satisfied with that response.

“Cane Bay is really struggling to see how this is an equitable redistribution of the zone when you’re excluding Cane Bay families who specifically purchased in these neighborhoods for these schools,” Cane Bay parent Brandi Bronniman said. “It’s not equitable when you have children being bused 30 minutes from their home school when you’re busing other people in from over 30 minutes away.”

Kindergarten students zoned for Cane Bay could ultimately end up at Westview Elementary.

Their assignment will be decided by a lottery drawing on May 25.

“I think busing 5-year-olds from one location 30 miles away is just completely irresponsible, and I think it was a poor judgement call on the board to create this issue for us,” Cane Bay parent Kristi Hunley said. “A lot of these families have four or five kids, you know, and four of these might be going there and now the youngest is being shipped away…and I just think it’s very unfair, and there should definitely be a sibling clause.”

However, students with siblings who already attend Cane Bay schools will be given no advantage.

“I don’t know that all the decisions were made with the best intentions of the families and the students in this community,” Cane Bay parent Nicole Stevens said.

Even some homeowners without children are concerned about what these issues will mean for their property values.

“I wish I had known. I wish I would not have built my home in Cane Bay had I known there was this risk of my kids not being able to go to the same school or to this school because this why I chose this community,” Stevens said.

The Cane Bay community is bustling with new development, so parents are urging the school board to rezone Cane Bay so neighborhoods and families aren’t split apart. However, their efforts may be too late.

“The Board has carefully balanced the protection of current students and homeowners against future growth,” district officials said. “The lottery allows for all students zoned for the Cane Bay community equitable access to kindergarten registration.”

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