Horry County school board to discuss attendance line plans Monday

vgrooms@thesunnews.comNovember 9, 2013 

— The Horry County school board will discuss proposed attendance line changes for some areas of the district Monday night, but only part of the plan is expected to be well-received by board members.

The recommendation was approved Oct. 29 by a district-wide committee that went along with the wishes of site committees from the affected areas of Conway, Loris, North Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest. Board Chairman Joe DeFeo said the board probably will agree with part of the recommendation, but that most members are unhappy with the plan for Carolina Forest.

A vote will not be taken at the meeting, which is a work session for the board. Board meetings are held at 6 p.m. at Horry County Schools’ district office, 335 Four Mile Road, Conway.

The proposed changes for attendance areas would:

•  In Loris, create more logical boundaries for the area, shifting the students at Kingston Elementary School who move on to Loris middle and high schools to either Loris or Daisy elementary school.

•  In North Myrtle Beach, realign the primary (pre-kindergarten through first grade), elementary (grades two and three) and intermediate (grades four and five) schools to each serve students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

•  In Conway, eliminate the split at South Conway Elementary School, sending all of those students to Whittemore Park Middle School, keeping them in the Conway attendance area, rather than sending some to Black Water Middle School, which is in Carolina Forest. Some Conway Middle School students also would shift to Whittemore Park.

•  In Carolina Forest, send students who live west of U.S. 501 from Conway to the Intracoastal Waterway – including those in the Burcale Road and Arrowhead areas – and those living in Waterford Plantation, Myrtle Beach National and north of Gardner Lacy Road to Black Water Middle.

Attendance line changes for the Carolina Forest cluster have been contentious, with the area’s site committee meeting three times and eventually overturning its original recommendation. Parents from neighborhoods around Carolina Forest Boulevard rallied to overturn the first plan, which would have moved their children from Ocean Bay Middle School to Black Water Middle, but Brad Richardson, who lives in Arrowhead, protested the most recent plan at a recent board meeting. He said students in his area live farther away from Black Water than those in Carolina Forest, and he didn’t understand how the plan could change to please a small group.

Only five members of the district-wide committee, which had around 30 members when it first convened a year ago, were present to vote on the panel’s final recommendation, said Teal Harding, HCS spokeswoman, who said the district provided as much outreach as possible to ensure participation. The panel, however, always was an opinion-seeking group that never operated under parliamentary procedure or required a quorum to vote, she said, and the board is not obligated to approve the recommendation.

The board probably will accept the recommendations for attendance line changes in the Loris and North Myrtle Beach areas, DeFeo said, but more discussion will be needed to determine what happens in Carolina Forest, which in turn could affect some of the changes recommended for the Conway attendance area.

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.

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