Mount Pleasant parents relieved rezoning won’t impact transfer students

One-third of students at Mount Pleasant Academy, an elementary school in the town’s Old Village, attend the school on voluntary transfers.

MOUNT PLEASANT – Parents worried about the impacts of new attendance zones on their children next school year are relieved after school officials announced last week that students attending schools outside their neighborhood will be allowed to stay when classes begin in the fall.

The Constituent District 2 School Board, which sets attendance zones for Mount Pleasant and part of Awendaw, has announced that students attending schools through previously approved voluntary transfers will be allowed to remain at their requested school when a planned rezoning of school attendance lines goes into effect for the 2015-2016 school year. Roughly 450 students in District 2 have voluntary transfers.

The constituent board’s decision comes after parents, whose children are attending schools through a voluntary transfer, railed last year against a previous plan that would have required most students to return to their zoned school.

Marty Belk, District 2 board chairwoman, said the issue was trying to balance transfer students with projected overcrowding at some schools after the rezoning, particularly at Mount Pleasant Academy where one-third of the school’s approximately 560 students attend through a voluntary transfer.

After the uproar from parents, Belk said the board opted to delay the rezoning for about 10 neighborhoods from Whitesides to Mount Pleasant Academy until the 2017-2018 school year. The change will allow transfer students at Mount Pleasant Academy to age out and make room for students who would be rezoned to attend there.

The neighborhoods impacted by the delayed rezoning include; Pleasant Pines; Shemwood; Shemwood II; Lazy Acres; Cadberry Court; Freeman; Sea Island Crossing; Brookgreen Meadows; Sunset Farms; and Six-Fifty-Six Coleman.

“What we’ve done is we’ve really listened to our constituents,” Belk said. “We’re hoping that this is going to accommodate more students.”

Jessica Browning, whose son attends Mount Pleasant Academy through a voluntary transfer, said she and many other families are grateful to the constituent school board for “listening to our concerns and working this out for our children.”

The biggest relief, said Leigh Lipscomb, whose children attend Mount Pleasant Academy as transfer students, is that children attending schools through voluntary transfers won’t have their learning environment disrupted.

“The students will get to finish out their elementary educations in the learning and community environments that they have invested in,” Lipscomb said.