School choice week kicks off, public school choices may be limited

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News 12 This Morning/Monday Jan. 27, 2014

(WRDW)--Private schools, homeschooling and magnet schools--they're all options parents have both in Georgia and South Carolina when it comes to school choice.

Public schools in our area offer options as well.

"We have three types of choice here in Aiken County," said Dr. Randy Stowe, Aiken County Schools director of administrative services.

Hardship transfers--

"That's available any time during the year with a specific reason that a student needs to go to a particular school," Stowe explained.

The "No Child Left Behind" choice, where students at 'failing' schools can get transportation to a better performing school.

And, Expanded Choice.

"[Expanded Choice is where] Parents can request a specific elementary school without giving us a reason for it and we accept those transfer requests so long as we have space available," said Stowe.

Stowe says Aiken County parents get one month to file for this kind of request and they've got to be able to get their child to and from the elementary school.

But, there has to be room there.

"We have several schools that actually at this point are very overcrowded," he explained. "Typically our problems are on the south side of Aiken and over in North Augusta and we're also starting to see it on the east side of the valley."

Areas where the elementary schools more than likely won't have space to be an expanded choice option.

Now, Stowe says the district is working to finalize which schools will be open to continue offering parents as many choices as possible.

"We want to be as accurate as possible because we don't want to over fill any of our schools because that really affects the program," he said.

The list of which schools will be open will be posted on the county's website today.

Parents will be able to submit their requests during the month of February.

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