The Berkeley County School District looks for long term solutions to accomodate growth

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MONKS CORNER, SC (WCBD) – The Berkeley Count School district is searching for ways to accommodate the growth of their school district.

The School District leaders say that over the last several years, enrollment has exceeded 1,000 students annually.

Growth in Berkeley County is among the top 1% in the country.

The Cane Bay area is particular is said to be the heart of much of that growth.

The schools like Cane Bay Middle School has faced some challenges where the space is so limited to accommodate their students that teachers must travel from room to room to teach.

In addition, the schools say they are running out of creative ways and space to manage growth​​.

“We like to think of growth as an opportunity and not a problem and in many ways growth in the Cane Bay area is a challenge to our administration to implement creative and out of the box practices that benefit the students. However, we are gearing a point where the opportunity to be creative by growth is turning into a serious problem and it’s a problem for our students for our teachers and for our community, “says Brian Troutman with the Berkeley County School District

On Tuesday night the Berkeley County Board of Education held a regular meeting where they approved several measures in attempt to control and accommodate this growth.

While long term solutions are currently being decided, the board has come up with some short term solutions.

Cane Bay Elementary’s capacity will be limited to approximately 1,250 students, while Cane Bay Middle will be limited to approximately 1,400 students.

The procedure for the capacity restriction will operate as follows:

1.      All students will register at their school of residency (i.e., Cane Bay Elementary, Cane Bay Middle, or a feeder school of Cane Bay Middle – Foxbank Elementary or Nexton Elementary).  Each student’s completed registration in the district’s online registration system, Infosnap, will be time stamped to determine if the student will be enrolled in Cane Bay Elementary or Cane Bay Middle.

2.      For students that will not be enrolled at Cane Bay Elementary or Cane Bay Middle due to capacity, the district will provide transportation to the Cane Bay schools and provide a transfer bus to transport students to the Westview schools.  

3.      Both schools will maintain a waiting list and priority will be given based on the student’s registration timestamp above the enrollment cap. 

In addition, the district is implementing a choice program for students within the Cane Bay attendance zones for the elementary and middle school students that would like to attend another non-magnet Berkeley County school that has available space. Applications will be submitted through the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, Dr. Susan Gehlmann.

Finally, the board approved a first reading of changes in attendance lines throughout the Cane Bay zone to better distribute excessive enrollment.  If approved during the second reading, the undeveloped areas of the Wildcat Tract and the undeveloped areas of Nexton will be moved out of the Cane Bay Elementary and Cane Bay Middle attendance zones. The proposed rezoning would send future students from undeveloped Nexton to Sangaree Middle and Stratford High. Future students living in undeveloped Wildcat Tract will be zoned to attend Whitesville Elementary, Berkeley Middle and a high school to be determined.

A second reading for the attendance line changes will take place on January 14th. Choice options and the attendance cap will later be presented to the board

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