CCSD plans to house students in trailers at C.E. Williams

CCSD plans to house students in trailers at C.E. Williams
January 23 16:40 2020 Print This Article

On Monday at about 6 pm, the Charleston County School board will take up a proposal to locate all 1249 West Ashley middle school students at the new C.E. Williams building near the West Ashley High School campus for the 2020-2021 school year. The new building only has the capacity for 900 students, meaning that more than 300 students would need to be housed in trailers.

The initial plan for merging the existing C.E. Williams (near Carolina Bay) and West Ashley Middle School (former Middleton High campus) was approved by the school board in November. It called for all 6th grade students to be housed in the Middleton building and all 7th and 8th grade students to be located in the new C.E. Williams building.

Used 24 x 36 foot mobile classrooms with the capacity of up to 25 students cost about $15,000 each. There are added expenses for desks, ramp installation, electrical wiring and internet installation. There are also logistical concerns about whether to install covered walkways between the trailers and the main building for restroom visits, going to the cafeteria and attending special area classes. Having students in trailers also makes site security more challenging.

2018 census data showed West Ashley with a population of more than 75,000 and a poverty rate of 10.3%. Charleston County School District data shows the current C.E. Williams has a poverty index of 54% and West Ashley Middle has a poverty index of about 75%. Orange Grove Charter School in West Ashley has about 300 middle school students. Many West Ashley public school students attend schools in other areas, including Charleston Math and Science Charter (downtown), Charleston County School of the Arts (North Charleston), Allegro Music Academy (downtown), Palmetto Scholars Academy (North Charleston), Buist Academy (downtown), and Lowcountry Leadership Academy (Hollywood).

The school board will hold a public comment period starting at around 5:30 pm Monday, with sign-in required prior to 5:15. This will be the first and possibly only opportunity for parents and concerned citizens to voice their opinions on the revised middle school merger plan.