Superintendent Nancy McGinley appears to be at odds with the majority of the Charleston County School Board on her plan to shift McClellanville middle grades to St. James-Santee Elementary.
If you go
What: District 23 (Hollywood) community meeting.When: 6 tonight.Where: Baptist Hill High, 5117 Baptist Hill Road.
The board didn't re-vote on the issue Monday night, but at least five board members seemed to be opposed to her proposal. Many said they support what the community wants: keeping middle grades at Lincoln High.
“I listen to what the community wants to do, and they're saying don't move,” said board member Tom Ducker. “You made the proposal and I recognize you're the expert, but I'm not convinced this is the right thing to do and neither is the community.”
The board agreed in January to move seventh and eighth grades from the high school to the elementary school, but the board since has said it wanted more community input and would reconsider its decision. Board Chairwoman Cindy Bohn Coats said the board will vote on the issue again March 25.
Many residents fear moving the middle grades could hurt Lincoln High and result in the board shuttering the school. Both McGinley and board members said on Monday night that they recognize it costs more to operate rural schools, and they had no intention of closing Lincoln High.
McGinley said a change is necessary for the middle grades, which are considered “at risk” by the state, and shifting those to the elementary school would be in the best academic interest of students.
The board also had approved shifting sixth grades from elementary schools in District 23 (Hollywood) to the Baptist Hill High campus. Some supporters of Jane Edwards Elementary, a rural school on Edisto Island, are opposed to the change because they worry it will hurt their school and lead to its closure.
More than 300 McClellanville residents turned out to a community meeting last week, and a meeting in Hollywood is scheduled for tonight. The board didn't discuss the changes in Hollywood, and Coats said the board has an open mind and wants to hear what the community thinks is best.
In other business, the board unanimously agreed to name the new career and technology building on the Wando High campus the Center for Advanced Studies at Wando; and to change the contract length for 770 employees from 245 days to 240 days. Affected employees include principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, secretaries and administrative assistants. They won't lose any pay, but they will accrue leave at a lower rate. Officials said the change will save money by allowing district-wide shut downs during winter and spring break.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or 937-5546.