Carolina Park Elementary families fight for no rezoning

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:23 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 11:27 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The new school year is just getting started, but some parents fear it could be their child’s last year at Carolina Park Elementary School because of a possible rezoning plan that could send some students to another school.

Around 200 or so people came to the District 2 Board of Constituents meeting for Charleston County School District Tuesday night. The overwhelming response from the families was that they do not want their kids rezoned. Some of the main reasons were for wanting their kids to keep biking and walking to school and not wanting their mental health to decline.

Brian Keels, the chief operating officer for Carolina Park Development, says he wants the parents who were under the understanding when they came to Carolina Park that their kids would attend these schools to stay there.

“So, I ask tonight that you please allow Carolina Park students to remain together in the community and not divide them,” Keels said.

The Charleston County School District planning team says Carolina Park Elementary is expected to be overcapacity by 2025. They plan to have students redistricted to neighboring schools like Laurel Hill and Charles Pinckney to prevent this from happening in the 2023 school year.

Carolina Park Elementary parents organized a walk from the Carolina Park neighborhood to the school to demonstrate against the rezoning.

“So, I’m here because my son loves riding his bike,” Kim Thomas, one Carolina Park Elementary parent, said. “It’s his highlight of his day. And they’re looking at taking him away and putting him on a bus and replacing him with other bus riders.”

After the walk, the District 2 Board of Constituents listened to feedback from parents on this issue and reviewed the three-day preliminary enrollment data from the planning team.

The five members of the board say they don’t feel comfortable deciding on the rezoning right now after considering the new numbers.

“Obviously, none of these maps are going to fit a potential rezoning unless you guys want to rezone 200 kids,” Board Chair Pamela Jouan-Goldman said. “Which personally, I don’t want to.”

Board members say they’re waiting to see updated 10-day enrollment numbers before making a decision. Though if rezoning doesn’t happen, it’s not clear what the board will do to address overcapacity concerns.

Other Carolina Park parents, like Kelley and Adam Deaton, say they are happy to see the board starting to side with them on possibly not allowing the rezoning.

“I think they saw, ‘Hey, we need more facts before we can move ahead with this.’” Adam Deaton said. “So, we are hoping as they start to get the better projections that, you know, they see it exactly how much this community wants to stay at this school.”

The board says the decision will be discussed publicly at the next Board of Constituents meeting.

Here are the proposed rezoning plans and Tuesday’s meeting information: