Breaking down the recommendations for Aiken County school realignment

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Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken County School District is looking at different plans for realigning student enrollment in schools across the county, helping to relieve overcrowding in some schools and help bring more students to others.

The extensive planning began after population statistics and concerns were raised this past school year, particularly with overcrowding in Area 3.

Click here for list of schools and their enrollment numbers

There are four recommendations that the school is reviewing as possible relief options.

What is Recommendation 1?

In Recommendation 1, a direct feeder pattern will be created from elementary through high school. Elementary school zoning boundaries will be modified to allow for all students to go from the same elementary school to the same middle school to the same high school.

In addition, the following will be options to be considered:
- All sixth-grade students in Area 1 will go to Aiken Middle School. There will be two seventh and eighth-grade middle schools; Schofield Middle will house seventh and eighth graders and feed into Aiken High, while Kennedy Middle will feed into South Aiken High.
- In Area 3: Byrd, Gloverville, and a new elementary school at the current Byrd Learning Center location will feed into Leavelle-McCambell Middle. Jefferson, Warrenville, and Clearwater Elementary will feed into LBC Middle.
- Trolley Run Station will move from Area 3 zoning to Area 1 due to proximity.
- Boundary shift to include a portion of Area 1 inside Area 5 to alleviate transportation concerns for families near Barnwell. Students along the county line and near SRS would attend Oakwood Windsor Elementary, New Ellenton Middle, and Silver Bluff High School.

What is Recommendation 2?

In Recommendation 2, Midland Valley High School would be expanded to include more classrooms, facilities, and parking.

What is Recommendation 3?

In Recommendation 3, older 1950s-style elementary schools such as Belvedere Elementary, Hammond Hill Elementary, and Millbrook Elementary would be upgraded and expanded for growth and safety.

What is Recommendation 4?

In Recommendation 4, a donated parcel of 85-acres would be used to build a new elementary and middle school inside Area 2.

After meeting with consultants, the school district decided to review these options due to several factors:
- Area 3 is at or above 100% occupancy in elementary and high schools.
- Area 2 is approaching 100% occupancy and needs relief for future growth.
- Area 1 middle schools are "demographically imbalanced" and there is not a solid feeder system in place between elementary and high school
- At least 3,600 students or 15% of total student population attends schools outside of their zoned schools.