School Board will consider recommendation to keep Trolley Run students in Aiken schools

January 21, 2019

The Aiken County School Board will hear a recommendation Tuesday to maintain the current attendance boundaries for students who live in the Trolley Run Station neighborhood off University Parkway.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. in the Aiken County Public Schools district office at 1000 Brookhaven Drive.

In January 2018, the board voted to move students from Area 3 schools – Byrd Elementary, Leavelle McCampbell Middle and Midland Valley High - in Graniteville to Area 1 schools – Aiken Elementary, Schofield Middle and Aiken High - in Aiken.

The change went into effect at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

The board also approved a grandfathering plan for the students, allowing them to remain in Area 3 schools until the last grade in those schools. The plan also allowed students’ siblings who had not started school to attend those schools in Area 3.

Aiken County Public Schools officials cited overcrowding at Byrd Elementary and Midland Valley High in Graniteville as a reason for changing the attendance boundaries at at series of town hall meetings in fall 2017.

School Board member Dwight Smith, whose district includes Graniteville and part of Aiken, made a motion to return the Trolly Run students to Area 3 at the board’s Nov. 27, 2018, meeting.

In his motion, Smith, a retired educator who was elected to the board in November and who had served one term before, said that residents of Area 3 had stated that they wanted to remain in Area 3 schools during the town hall meetings.

At the meeting, Smith said his constituents “have asked me or put me in charge of bringing those students back to Area 3. They feel like they weren’t listened to, and they want them back.”

Following a long discussion, then Board Chairman Tad Barber did not call for a vote that would have allowed the motion to pass or fail, saying the board needed more time and data to consider the motion and also needed to allow time for public input. He also cited concerns with the Freedom of Information Act because the item was not included on the meeting’s advertised agenda.

In other business, the board will hear items as follows:

• The annual update on the Lloyd Kennedy Charter School and Aiken Performing Arts Academy

• Applications for grants and descriptions of donations

• Schematic plans for North Augusta High School Phase 3 construction, which includes a new gymnasium and fine arts wing

• Schematic plans for Aiken High Phase 3 construction

• Schematic plans for the new Highland Springs Elementary and Middle schools

• Schematic plans for Hammond Hill Elementary renovations and additions

• Schematic plans for the Millbrook Elementary addition

• Schematic plans for the Midland Valley High addition

• Schematic plans for the Belvedere Elementary addition.

Under special orders of business, the board will receive a donation from the Aiken Standard’s Community Christmas Card and a recognition by South Carolina Cyber.