Lowcountry Black Parents Association holds town hall ahead of $31M proposal

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 11:50 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 4:15 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – The Lowcountry Black Parents Association held a town hall to help inform Charleston County School District parents ahead of a final decision of the proposed Reimagine Schools plan next week.

The virtual meeting, held Wednesday night, discussed the proposal, which was brought before the district’s board in December by the Coastal Community Foundation, a local non-profit organization.

“All of the sudden, there’s a $31 million proposal that’s on the table,” Lowcountry Black Parents Assocation co-founder Eric Jackson said, “and everybody got confused, who’s like ‘What’s really going on?’”

If the plan is approved, the school board would spend over $31 million over 10 years to allow the non-profit to help over 20 struggling schools within the district.

Lowcountry Black Parents Association co-founder AJ Davis said they are not against having innovative approaches to improve education. However, he said the community must be involved in these discussions.

“Any initiative aimed at improving education must, key word must, be done so with the community, not to it,” Davis said.

In a statement, the Coastal Community Foundation said in part:

“If the proposal is approved Monday, that simply begins a process of appointing community members to commissions and collecting community feedback about what’s working or not working at their schools. All district residents in these areas would be invited and encouraged to lend their perspectives and provide input.”

During the town hall meeting, one man commented, “We don’t need to surrender control of 23 more schools to a private organization.”

Davis, meanwhile, says the public was not informed about how the proposal, which uses emergency relief funds from the federal government, came about.

“The misstep is that such a broad reaching and broad sweeping proposal was done in a way that was unbeknownst to the general public,” Davis said.

The Charleston County School Board has agreed to make a final decision on the Reimagine Schools proposal during a special called meeting on Monday.

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