New middle school attendance districts possible for Carolina Forest (Update: Back in the news)

photo by flickr member o5com

Update, January 23, 2013: Post-election coincidence or not, the realignment of the Carolina Forest school attendance lines are back in the news, reintroducing the idea that some students at Carolina Forest Elementary School will be assigned to Black Water Middle School. 

A committee has been formed and meeting to determine whether attendance lines will change for several Grand Strand schools. The possibility that some Carolina Forest Elementary School students will be assigned to Black Water Middle School, rather than Ocean Bay Middle School, is back on the table.

Districts in Conway, Loris, and North Myrtle Beach are also being evaluated and there is talk of redrawing the attendance lines, as well as adjusting school structures. You can read more in this Horry Independent article.

Update, October 26, 2011 During the October 24th meeting of the Horry County Board of Education, attendance lines were approved for the new River Oaks Elementary School and talk of realigning Carolina Forest Elementary School students with Black Water Middle School has been tabled in favor of moving forward with executing a higher utilization plan.

You can read the full write-up in this Sun News article.

Update, October 24th:  The Horry County Board of Education will meet tonight to vote on attendance lines for the new River Oaks Elementary School and on how to solve the overcrowding issue at Ocean Bay Middle School.

According to this report on WBMF, the plan is to address overcrowding in middle and high schools by executing a utilization plan, designed to fully use all space available in each school and to add programs to schools with lower attendance to attract more students.  It seems as though the talk of realigning Carolina Forest Elementary graduating 5th graders to Black Water Middle School has quieted a bit.

Update, October 3, 2011: The Horry County Board of Education met to discuss possible solutions to the overcrowding issues and new ideas were presented.  Here are the possibilities, old and new:

  • The majority of graduating Carolina Forest Elementary 5th graders will attend Black Water Middle School, rather than Ocean Bay Middle School.
  • The grade structure will change, making Ocean Bay Middle School house 6th and 7th grade, and Carolina Forest High School house 8th through 12th.
  • The new River Oaks Elementary School, slated to open for the 2012-2013 school year, will house grades kindergarten through 8th, alleviating Ocean Bay Middle School of those attending it in their student count.

Members of the Parents Against the Realigning Carolina Forest Elementary School Facebook group attended to show a presence for those against the first option.  During the retreat, Rick Maxey, chief officer of support services, talked about a three-prong plan to address overcrowding.  Redrawing attendance district lines was the last option.  The first was to execute already-written plans for high utilization of facilities, which hasn't been done yet.  

Another interesting discussion was brought up regarding the attendance district for Carolina Forest High School.  Board member John Poston said it was drawn in the 1990's with demographic balance in mind.  It now, however, seems to split up communities - the same complaint of parents opposing the realignment of Carolina Forest Elementary students to Black Water Middle.

More discussion will be heard at the board work session on October 11th and a vote could come as soon as the October 24th board meeting.

You can have a look at the Ocean Bay Middle School attendance zone map here and Black Water Middle's here. You can also see the Carolina Forest High School attendance zone map here. You can find attendance zone maps for all schools in Horry County here

Check the full retreat report written by the Sun News.

First report, September 27, 2011: The Horry County Board of Education meets this Saturday, October 1st, to discuss the realignment of districts that would send graduating Carolina Forest Elementary School 5th graders to Black Water Middle School in Conway.

Word spread quickly in May when it was revealed that the Horry County Board of Education was considering a switch in middle school attendance districts.  About 90% of graduating Carolina Forest Elementary 5th graders would attend Black Water Middle School, rather than Ocean Bay Middle School, where they currently go.  The possible change was to avoid overcrowding in Ocean Bay Middle, as it is nearing capacity. 

The reaction from parents was swift and concerned.  This Saturday, October 1st, the Board will discuss this topic and many options for solving it.  Parents concern ranges from State report card ratings to increased transport time for students.  The Carolina Forest Chronicle did a great write-up back in May.  Unfortunately, their site doesn't allow links directly to articles.  You can click here to see the May 12, 2011 issue.  The coverage of the issue begins on page one.

You can read the latest from WPDE here.

If you'd like to attend the meeting, it will be at the Horry County Schools District Office, 335 Four Mile Road in Conway, in room C-107 at 8:00 a.m..  It is unclear whether or not public opinions will be heard or if this is just an opportunity for citizens to listen in.  

If you'd like to contact the members of the Board of Education regarding this or any issue, here is a link to their information including email addresses.