Berkeley Co. School District’s proposed redistricting plan, why some parents want a different solution

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - New census data shows Berkeley County is the second-fastest growing county in the state of South Carolina, and Berkeley County School District is responding to that data with a proposed redistricting plan, which has some parents concerned for their children’s future.

Under the proposed plan, BCSD says they hope to solve issues of overcrowding, saying that some schools are at over 100% capacity. Despite this, some parents encourage the school board to explore other options.

“I don’t blame the school board. They’re just trying to make the best changes they can or look at the best changes,” says BCSD parent Kyle Stevens. “But they have to look at the kids and the emotion of the kids and all that.”

Stevens has a rising senior at Berkeley High School who might have to move to Timberland High School under the proposed plan.

“The worse thing is there’s other kids that have lived here their whole life, parents who went to Berkeley High School, and now they have to change. They’re not going to wear the blue and gold anymore,” Stevens says.

BCSD parent Rachel Montgomery wants to take a step further in urging the district to look at other options.

“A lot of people said ‘hey, should we write a petition?’ and I said, ‘I can write a petition.’ And let’s see what we can do with it,” Montgomery says. “The goal with the petition is just encourage the school board members to find a different solution. It’s not shuffling kids around here to there and trying to find a solution that fits.”

That petition asks specifically not to rezone Berkeley and Timberland schools.

BCSD responds to Montgomery and other concerned parents saying that “the people making these [rezoning] decisions don’t want to have to make these decisions,” BCSD Chief Communications Officer Katie Tanner said.

“It’s definitely never something that any school district, any board takes lightly. They do not like having to make these types of decisions,” Tanner says.

Tanner says that one reason this plan is proposed is to “fill the seats we already have.”

“We still are experiencing just really increased growth and are looking at maximizing facility usage and making sure that we’re good stewards of taxpayer funding and we’re not constructing schools without filling the seats that we do have,” Tanner says.

Tanner says BCSD acknowledges that plans like this bring out emotion.

BCSD says these plans are drafts and still need to be presented to and approved by the school board. The next meeting discussing these plans is scheduled for November 9.

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