Charleston Co. Schools presents plan for new elementary school on Johns Island

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 3:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 11:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Charleston County School District staff members presented new information and a possible plan to build a new elementary school on Johns Island Thursday night.

The district has allocated $41 million in taxpayer dollars to build the new campus, according to the school district’s 2023-2028 Capital Building Program.

The school will be built on River Road, between Brownswood and Murraywood roads. As it stands, the district says they will have to put in a roundabout at the River Road entrance of this new school near Swygert Boulevard.

Several parents say they are worried about the impact on traffic, but others were worried about equity. The district’s chief financial officer, Jeff Borowy, says the school will ease overcrowding at Angel Oak and Mount Zion elementary schools.

“We have multiple children that are in trailers,” Borowy said. “They’re still a good educational environment but certainly not as good as a permanent building, and so this project will give us the opportunity to bring kids in from the classroom trailers.”

As part of the new school, the district is looking to establish a single attendance zone for elementary students on the island and change the grade configurations.

Students in Head Start through first grade would go to Angel Oak Elementary, while students in second through fifth grades attend the new school. Mount Zion Elementary would be turned into a family center under this proposal.

“It would give every child on Johns Island an opportunity to be at the new school in grades 2 through 5,” Borowy said.”

A big talking point among parents was the potential impact the school will have on traffic.

“We do need a new school, especially our Mount Zion kids, but also, it’s just the location of where they’re going to have it,” Keiaunta Alexander said. “How are we going to fight this traffic when we already have more traffic?”

However, other parents were worried about how the school’s proposed change to grades will affect education.

“Having Mount Zion being a Title I school and all the extra resources that go to that Title I school, just want to make sure that when we combine schools and have those different age levels that our children who are living below the poverty line are still getting equal access and getting resources they still continue to need...,” Casey Thaler said.

Officials say they need to come back with recommendations on possible changes to the board of trustees in August.

The district says they expect construction to be completed on this new school in the summer of 2024.

In its 2023-2028 plan, the district has funded over $410 million consisting of several new buildings and expansions to current schools.

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