West Ashley middle school merger forum set for Thursday

West Ashley middle school merger forum set for Thursday
December 03 14:13 2019 Print This Article

Charleston County School District (CCSD) and St. Andrews District 10 constituent school board are holding a forum about the planned merger of West Ashley’s CCSD middle schools Thursday from 6 pm to 7 pm at West Ashley High School (WAHS). On November 18, the consolidated school board voted to merge C.E. Williams and West Ashley middle schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The 6th grade students will be housed in the current West Ashley Middle School (WAMS) building on William Kennerty Drive, and the 7th and 8th grade students will occupy the new C.E. Williams campus next to WASH.

A group of more than 30 West Ashley elementary school parents attended the District 10 constituent board meeting November 21 to express concerns about the merger. Many expressed concerns over the lack of community input that went into the plan. East Cooper parents had two years of community forums to plan Lucy Beckham High School, which will open in Mt. Pleasant next school year.

An elementary school parent gave the District 10 board members in attendance and CCSD Middle School Director Dr. Joe Williams a list of concerns to review. The questions and answers were recently published on the District 10 website. One of the concerns was the condition of the WAMS building (formerly Middleton High School), which is nearly 50 years old. CCSD officials could not say if a replacement will be on the 1% school construction sales tax referendum in November 2020. Another question was whether WAMS had been inspected for mold, lead and asbestos. CCSD stated that it had and that the building is up to code.

One of the parents expressed concerns about students making two consecutive school transitions coming out of elementary school. Williams said the 6th-grade-only model has been adopted in Aiken County and in the Irmo school district near Columbia. He added that working groups of parents, teachers and community leaders would be set up to ensure quality academic and extra-curricular programs and a smooth transition.