Town hall meetings planned to discuss Highland Springs rezoning

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:24 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Aiken County schools are getting ready to open its newest state-of-the-art campus.

They want your feedback for zoning for Highland Springs Middle School.

There will be two town hall meetings for zoning. The first will be Wednesday at Midland Valley High School.

The second meeting will be on Thursday at North Augusta High School inside the gymnasium. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

You’ll be able to weigh in on four options.

With the rate Aiken County is growing, the school says they have created a school and a plan for future growth. But they won’t decide until they’ve heard from the community.

As a mom of two with a full-time job and a husband that travels, Amber Meade was excited when she found out her new home would be near the new school.

“It’s within walking distance of my home, so I would be able to provide transportation for my kids every day without it impacting my schedule,” she said.

This is why she decided to build her home a mile away in Bellclear Heights.

“We knew that it was happening, and it’s a mile from our home. It kind of seemed inevitable that we would be zoned for it,” said Meade.

But now that she’s gotten a look at all four zoning plans, she realizes it may not matter if she’s just a mile away.

Two out of the four plans put her children at a different middle school miles away.

“Anywhere between 12 and 15 minutes, and then you sit through carline and then have to come back. In between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the long lines,” she said.

Dr. Corey Murphy is the chief officer of operations and student services for the school district. He says the point of the four zones is to find the least disruptive route for the kids.

“Future-proofing, what we’re trying to do is make it, you mentioned, a scenario where a parent may have to drive past a school and may have to drive further to get to the school they’re zoned. We’re trying to make that as least as possible and prepare for future growth in the area,” he said.

Even with all of the shuffling around, Murphy argues everyone will eventually benefit from the changes.

“Everyone will get some type of benefit because their schools will also have lower capacities. And then they’ll have better-suited teacher ratios,” he said.

The final decision will be made on March 7.

Four Scenarios:

  • Students who are zoned for Paul Knox, North Augusta, Leavelle McCampbell, and Langley Bath Clearwater would be moved and go directly to Highland Springs.
  • Pull students only from Paul Knox and North Augusta to go to Highland Springs.
  • Pull students from Paul Knox, North Augusta, Leavelle McCampbell, and Langley Bath Clearwater to distribute them evenly between the five middle schools.
  • Pulls students from Paul Knox and North Augusta and disperse evenly between the three.