Attendance Zones to be Redrawn in Beaufort Co. - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Attendance Zones to be Redrawn in Beaufort Co.

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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. -

School attendance zones will soon be changing in Beaufort County.

Superintendent Jeff Moss wants to redraw many of the zones across the district to make room for future growth, to reduce the need to rezone frequently in high-growth areas, and balance student demographics, spokesman Jim Foster said.

The superintendent made his proposal to the Board of Education's Student Services Committee, which requested that information on several alternate plans be compiled for discussion at two additional meetings scheduled for Jan. 23 and 30.

Parents, educators and community members are invited ask questions and make comments at those meetings, both set for 4:30 p.m. at Okatie Elementary School.

Once the Student Services Committee and eventually the full Board reach consensus, a comprehensive proposal will be presented for further public input at five town hall meetings in February and also at regular Board meetings.

Any new attendance lines would take effect once two new schools - one serving grades 9-12 and one serving prekindergarten through Grade 8 - are opened to serve the fast-growing Bluffton area.

Those schools are expected to open by 2016.

Moss said that in developing his initial proposal, he followed a set of parameters established by the Board of Education in October.

Those criteria included maintaining student enrollments at schools to allow for future growth, following natural boundaries such as rivers or highways where possible, keeping neighborhoods together, using K-5 grade configurations at all district elementary schools, maintaining diverse student demographics and reducing instances where school attendance zones are changed during students' academic careers in the district, Foster said.

Although some schools in the district are operating below capacity, some are overcrowded.

Moss said that his initial proposal would have schools operating at an average enrollment of 73 percent.

In addition to following the rezoning criteria it set in October, the district will also work with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights to make sure student bodies at the schools comply with federal rules on racial composition.

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