Keep magnet schools accessible


Magnet schools in Charleston County provide some needed alternatives for students — if they can get there in the morning. A vote by the Charleston County School Board ensures that they can.

Charleston County School District administrators proposed that the board eliminate or charge for bus service to magnet schools in an effort to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. And while the district is to be commended for searching for places to cut expenses, the board was correct to say, by a vote of 8-1, that making it more difficult for children to attend magnet schools isn’t the answer.

The cost to bus children to countywide magnet schools is significant — $2 million a year. And the last time the district made a similar proposal, it estimated that charging $500 for bus service (low-income students would pay less or nothing at all), the district could save $500,000.

The district seems still to view magnet schools as less important than conventional public schools. Administrators should recognize the extent to which the public supports them.

S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais has made charter schools a priority, as has the Legislature and a majority of the Charleston County School Board.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill this week that guarantees greater opportunity for the expansion of charter schools in South Carolina.

It was a welcome recognition that one size in education does not fit all.

Children and their parents should have the opportunity to choose a public school that will work best for them.

And they should have a way to get there.

Editor’s note: Earlier published versions of this editorial incorrectly stated that the district was considering charging for bus service to charter schools instead of magnet schools. The Post and Courier regrets the error.