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The following article is from the Post and Courier’s November 10, 2006 article written by Mindy B. Hagen. The article discusses Dorchester District 2 new attendance zones which will have a large impact on a lot of families in the area.

“SUMMERVILLE – Long-awaited new attendance zones to correlate with the opening of four new schools in Dorchester District 2 were unveiled at a school board workshop Thursday night, with board members often pausing to digest the magnitude of the proposed changes.

The boundary shifts will impact thousands of students and families across the Summerville school district, beginning next school year. Developing the new attendance zones has been a major undertaking for district officials, who will now open the process for community input at six public meetings before deciding on the final boundaries.

Superintendent Joe Pye said no firm decisions would be made until the public meetings are complete and parents have had an opportunity to voice their opinions. But he said the overcrowded district is grappling with a situation that doesn’t leave much “wiggle room.”

If parents upset with the changes want to argue for keeping their neighborhood zoned to its existing school, they’ll need to come up with a viable idea of a similar neighborhood that could be switched, Pye said.

The opening of two new elementary schools at opposite sides of the district means that many students at nearby schools, already bursting at the seams, will soon call those new facilities home.

Fort Dorchester Elementary, the state’s largest, could see its student population reduced from more than 1,500 to 900 pupils next year. The attendance proposal calls for the school to keep students from Wescott Plantation. Subdivisions such as Coosaw Creek and Whitehall will be moved to the new Eagle Nest Elementary.

But transferring students into the new buildings created a domino effect, which will result in every school in the district seeing some changes. The new River Oaks Middle School, for example, will take a majority of students from nearby Oakbrook Middle School. A portion of students currently attending Alston and Gregg middle schools then would be switched to Oakbrook.

A closely watched part of the attendance zone proposal concerns the boundaries for the new Ashley Ridge High School, scheduled to open in fall 2008. The new lines would end Fort Dorchester High School’s zone at the neighborhoods bordering Ladson Road and send the Trolley Road area, now split between Fort Dorchester and Summerville high schools, to the new school. Students from subdivisions such as Irongate, Greenhurst, Ashborough and Briarwood would attend Ashley Ridge.

Another change bound to cause controversy focuses on the attendance zones for Flowertown and Newington elementary schools. Several parents at the workshop questioned how the changes would impact Newington. The school has some of the most active parents and highest test scores in the district.

Newington parent Laurie Harth found out her section of Corey Woods would be switched to Knightsville under the proposal.

“They are splitting my neighborhood,” she said. “You’ll have friends on different sides of the street going to different schools.”

The first community forums to discuss the changes begin next week at various schools.

Reach Mindy B. Hagen at mhagen@postandcourier.com or 937-5433.”

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