BY DIETTE COURRÉGÉ CASEY firstname.lastname@example.org
The divisive issue of how the former Rivers Middle School campus should be used soon will be a topic of discussion for the new Charleston County School Board.
Board member Tom Ducker, who was sworn into office Monday night, proposed the board hold a workshop Nov. 28 to discuss it, and he suggested inviting community stakeholders.
He said he hasn’t taken a position yet on what should happen, and he wanted to better understand the situation to make the right decision going forward.
“I’m looking for information,” he said. “The board can decide later whether to put it on an agenda (for action).”
The school board agreed in 2007 to share the former Rivers Middle School in a 60-40 split, with the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science using 60 percent and a new program, Lowcountry Tech, using the remaining 40 percent.
The building has been under construction since then, but it’s slated to be finished by January. The problem is the building doesn’t have enough space to house the charter school’s middle school students.
Charter school supporters want to move Lowcountry Tech into nearby Burke High so the charter school can have the entire building, but others, most notably the and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, are fiercely opposed to moving Lowcountry Tech.
The school board has promised to keep Lowcountry Tech at the Rivers campus, but it appears there may be new support on the board for changing that.
School board member Elizabeth Moffly said there’s nothing that prevents the current board from undoing what previous boards have done.
“We always can change our mind,” she said.
Todd Garrett, who was sworn in last month and re-elected last week, said as a downtown parent and school choice supporter, the situation merits further discussion.
“We’ve got a situation on the ground that has changed,” he said.
Others disagreed. Board member Chris Collins said the board made its decision a long time ago, and “I don’t know why we would want to stir up that pot again.”
Dozens of charter school supporters came to Monday night’s meeting. Its board agreed last week to ask the county board to develop a permanent plan for its middle school students.
In other business, the board also swore in John Barter and Michael Miller, and it re-elected Cindy Bohn Coats as its chair and Craig Ascue as its vice chair.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or 937-5546.