Charleston County School Board members had little to say Monday night about the community teams that are considering proposals to restructure some schools.
The board has been talking since December about its under-enrolled schools and ways to attract more students to them. School/community task forces were created to consider potential changes in McClellanville, Johns Island, West Ashley, Hollywood and downtown.
Changes to schools in those areas could come as soon as the 2014-15 school year, and board Chairwoman Cindy Bohn Coats said community input is invaluable. On Monday, board members had few questions or responses to updates presented by the district.
“I was surprised,” Coats said of the lack of discussion. “What I gleaned is the board is glad this is happening ... and the board is going to let (the groups) continue to meet.”
Coats said she put the issue on the board’s agenda to keep members apprised of the task forces’ status, and so they wouldn’t be surprised by any future recommendations.
The task forces are supposed to have final reports within six months of their first meeting, and the groups appeared to be in varying stages. One group was slated to have its first meeting Aug. 28 while another had finalized its recommendations.
Board member John Barter asked about whether rural Jane Edwards Elementary was part of the discussion in District 23 (Hollywood), and district leaders said it was. Another asked about the composition of the committees, and office of community outreach director Brenda Nelson said it had been difficult for some to find parents whose children weren’t enrolled in the affected school but still wanted to be on the task force.
On Johns Island, the task force was asked to consider converting Angel Oak Elementary into a primary (grades pre-K-2) campus and making Frierson Elementary an elementary campus (grades 3-5). Its recommendation was not to continue any discussion on that configuration and instead to evaluate the possibility of giving each school a theme.
The West Ashley task force was asked to consider combining West Ashley Middle and St. Andrews Middle into one school and giving it a theme. The task force was slated to meet Aug. 1 to finalize its recommendation, and no additional information was provided to the board.
The downtown group has a tentative meeting set for Aug. 28 to talk about middle grades. This past school year, a committee considered creating a stand-alone middle school for downtown, and some wanted to convert Sanders-Clyde into that campus. The idea was met with strong opposition.
Reports were not provided to the board on the task forces for District 1 (McClellanville) or District 23 (Hollywood).
In other business, the board approved 7-1 for Carolina Voyager Charter School to open in fall 2014. Board member Chris Collins voted against the majority, and member Michael Miller was absent.
The board also signed off on hiring Laing Middle assistant principal James Whitehair as its principal.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.
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