Parents in Berkeley County voice concerns after lottery system wait-listed 51 students

Parents in Berkeley County voice concerns after lottery system wait-listed 51 students

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Dozens of parents in Berkeley County are worried about where their children will go to school next year.

The Berkeley County School District has implemented a series of policies to help with overcrowding at Cane Bay schools.

Back in December the school district placed enrollment caps on Cane Bay elementary and middle schools.

Due to the changes, the district created a lottery drawing for Cane Bay Elementary School. As a result, 51 kindergartners have been put on a wait-list for the neighborhood school. Instead, they’ll be attending Westview Primary or another school of the parent’s choice that has capacity.

"In the beginning we were going to do a time stamp and parents talked about lining up and being at school at a certain time," BCSD Spokesperson Katie Tanner said. "Due to everything happening with the COVID-19 pandemic we obviously couldn't do that. The lottery was the next best option because it provided that equitable access."

During Tuesday's school board meeting, parents spoke out against the lottery system and other changes made by the school district.

Some parents felt like attendance line changes didn’t make sense, when it meant sending children far past their neighborhood schools.

“Despite only living only 1.7 miles away from Cane Bay Elementary School where my youngest daughter has attended for the last year, our street, a part of the Wildcat Tract, has been carved out of our neighborhood and rezoned to a school 12 miles away,” one parent said.

Jenee Palozzi has a rising first-grader at Cane Bay Elementary, but her second child was put on the wait-list for the school. She says this is beyond not being able to go to a neighborhood school, it also impacts how families will be able to make time for their children at different schools.

“I can’t be at two places at once. So if I don’t want my daughter at 5 years old getting on a bus and having to switch buses and I have to drive her, how does my other daughter get to school and get home?” Palozzi said.

Christine Ambroziak also has a child on the wait-list. She says that one of the reasons she bought her house in a certain area was so her children would be able to attend Cane Bay schools.

Parents say they plan to take these issues to Berkeley County government meetings next.

The school district says they hope parents will give these changes a chance and reach out to other schools on the table.

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