CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)— Thousands of students in Charleston County magnet schools may soon be affected by major changes.
The board voted to eliminate partial magnets status in several schools on Monday night.
Dozens of parents and community members protested outside of the CCSD board room on Monday and spoke out during public comments against the changes.
“Why would you disrupt a school system that is working…these proposals would cause unnecessary disruption to our students and schools,” said District Two Constituent Board Chair, Sarah Johnson.
Among other changes, the school board voted eliminate the partial magnet status at James B. Edwards Elementary, Zucker Middle School, and Mitchell Elementary School.
Many parents who protested the changes on Monday believe that the district is acting too quickly without enough evidence of how the changes will benefit students.
“You have rezoning and changes that affect nearly every school– closures and restructuring and it’s too much,” said parent of CCSD student, Elizabeth Hamilton.
The Charleston County school board also voted eliminate the partial magnet status at Laing Middle School and turn it into a constituent magnet to serve only district 1 & 2 students.
Trey Tezza, a District Two Constituent Board member says he has some concerns about the changes to Laing Middle School.
He doesn’t think it’s fair, because elimination the partial magnet status wouldn’t allow students from other areas of the Lowcountry to attend.
He says, “We have what is claimed to be the best STEM middle school in the nation by some standards and making it only available to those within the specific district surrounding it is, in a fashion, limiting who can attend it by zip code.”
District officials say that the partial magnet status isn’t working anymore, and they stand by their decisions to make the changes to several CCSD schools.
Kate Darby, CCSD Board Vice Chair says, “Over the last 20 years, the district has created a number of partial magnets and we just didn’t have a whole lot of consistency with programming, some we provided busing, some we didn’t, some we just had a few partial magnet kids there, so what we wanted to do is kind of create some consistency.”
Other changes that the CCSD Board voted on Monday night include turning North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary and Jennie Moore Elementary into constituent magnets with attendance zones, making Memminger serve as a county-wide IB magnet, with a K-2 advanced academic component,
The board voted not to make any changes to the partial magnet status of Sullivan’s Island Elementary School at this time.
In addition to the magnet school changes, the district is also moving forward with changes to Buist Academy on the peninsula.
They voted to rezone the schools K-2 students to Memminger Elementary— meaning that Buist would now only include grades 3-8.
The district also voted to close Minnie Hughes Elementary school in the Hollywood area and rezone all students to E.B. Ellington.
All these decisions need a final vote at the December 16th CCSD Board meeting before going into effect.