Business of Education Series: Proposed plans for utilizing local schools in a new way

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By Andy Ann

On Tuesday, Jan. 10 the Colleton County School District (CCSD) and school board members conducted the first “Committee of the Whole” meeting of 2023 at the CCSD board room located at 500 Forest Circle.

CCSD presented proposed plans for utilizing current school buildings in new ways providing more focus on individualized attention.

Presently the CCSD alternative school is housed at the same campus as the district’s main office. This alternative program services the needs of students in the sixth through the twelfth grades.

Part of the new proposed plan includes moving the alternative program from the current location to Black Street Early Childhood Center. This move would allow more space to expand the program to include students in kindergarten through fifth grades. This would also allow more students to receive the same opportunities at all grade levels. The alternative program would be able to cover academics while providing behavioral and social support to students that may be required to become successful.

Other portions of the proposed plan also include using half of Black Street Early Childhood Center for the alternative program and the other half for students that are enrolled in the early childhood program. This proposed plan would change how some students are zoned throughout the county.

Some of the proposed changes include sixth graders remaining at their prospective elementary schools, rather than moving them up to Colleton County Middle School (CCMS). The new plan structures the elementary schools as follows: Cottageville, Hendersonville, and Bells elementary schools would service kindergarten through sixth grades. Forest Hills Elementary School would service third through sixth grades and Northside Elementary School would service Pre-K through second grades. Students that live within the city of Walterboro and are currently zoned for Black Street Early Childhood Center would attend Northside Elementary School.

If the proposed plan is approved, the needed upgrades for the campus where Black Street Early Childhood Center is currently operating could cost the school district more than $375,000 according to district officials. The CCSD school board would have the final say in how areas within each campus would be structured for the various programs and grade levels affected, along with criteria on how each student will be assigned.

Superintendent Dr. Vallerie C. Cave will be presenting a proposed timeline for the plan in the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. The implementation of the proposed plan may be as early as the next school term this fall, but everything is contingent on the timeline of approvals for the project. *Note: The meeting was conducted after the deadline for this week’s publication.

More updates in the “Business of Education Series” will be provided in the next issue on Thursday, Jan 26.

For more information call 843-782-4510.

The Press and Standard will be presenting an educational series with a weekly column breaking down each of the department reports helping provide the minutes of the meeting as a source of information for the community.

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