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School district’s third town hall meeting is Thursday

November 18, 2017 GMT

Residents can express their opinions about a recommendation to reconfigure Area 1 middle schools in Aiken at the Aiken County Public School District’s third town hall meeting Thursday in the new cafeteria at Aiken High.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

District representatives have made a recommendation to create an intermediate school for all sixth-graders who live in Area 1 at Aiken Middle School. After sixth grade, students would attend either Kennedy Middle or Schofield Middle, depending on the elementary school they attended, for seventh and eighth grades.

Students at Kennedy would then attend South Aiken High, and students from Schofield would go to Aiken High.

The proposed change would create more balanced student populations, demographically and socio-economically, among the three middle schools, district representatives have said.

The district also recommended moving students from the Trolley Run Station neighborhood on University Parkway from Graniteville area schools in Area 3 to Aiken area schools in Area 1.

If the School Board approves the attendance area change, students who now attend Byrd Elementary, Leavelle McCampbell Middle and Midland Valley High in Graniteville would attend Aiken Elementary, Aiken Middle, Schofield Middle and Aiken High.

Many students who live in the Trolley Run neighborhood already attend schools in Area 1 and in the district’s other areas, district representatives have said.

The district also has made three other recommendations as follows:

• Expand Midland Valley High, which is at 110 percent student capacity

• Replace 1950s-era wings at Millbrook Elementary, Belvedere Elementary and Hammond Hill Elementary with new two-story buildings to allow for anticipated continued growth and enhanced security

• Build a new elementary and a new middle school on donated land in Area 2 in the North Augusta area.

The school district currently does not have the funding for the construction projects, but at the first two town hall meetings, district representatives discussed a possible $90 million bond referendum to fund them.

If Aiken County voters approved the referendum, property taxes would increase by $20 annually per $100,000 property value for property owners who pay the 4 percent tax rate and by $30 annually per $100,000 property value for property owners who pay the 6 percent tax rate.

No final decisions about any of the school district’s recommendations have been made. Members of the School Board will review feedback from community members and make a decision in January 2018.

The final three town hall meetings are as follows:

• 6 p.m. Nov. 30, North Augusta High School, following an update on the 1 percent sale tax initiative that currently is helping the district fund five school construction projects at 6 p.m.

• 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Ridge Spring-Monetta High/Middle School

• 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Silver Bluff High School.