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Charleston Co. School leaders oppose N. Charleston talk of split from district

Community unity demonstration photo.

Charleston Co. School leaders oppose N. Charleston talk of split from district

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The day after dozens in North Charleston met to discuss a voter referendum that could split the city’s schools from the Charleston County School District, the district is responding. During a town hall meeting Thursday night, North Charleston City Council members Rhonda Jerome and Jerome Heyward expressed concerns about the conditions of multiple schools in North Charleston, dwindling test scores, and a lack of support for schools in the city compared to other parts of Charleston County.

Concerns Raised

The meeting was designed to gather input and possibly move forward with a referendum to split North Charleston from the district. Elvin Speights, who is a part of the committee formed in February to address issues within North Charleston schools, emphasized that finding effective solutions takes time. He says that student challenges run much deeper than just academic performance.

“A child who’s worried about where they’re going to sleep at night, don’t care about your math, okay? A child who doesn’t feel safe, don’t care about reading,” Speights said.

Response from the District

Speights says there have been academic improvements within North Charleston Schools and that the referendum would be a mistake. He highlighted that six schools in North Charleston made double-digit gains on a 2023 South Carolina Ready (English Language Arts) test, particularly among Black students.

The district’s chief operating officer, Jeffrey Borowy, disagrees with the notion that the district favors schools in other parts of the county at the expense of those in North Charleston.

Assurance from the District

“North Charleston schools have received $1.1 billion worth of work on the average student rate that’s more than the average for the district. And that, to me, is a bellwether that shows that the money is coming to North Charleston,” Borowy said.

Borowy further mentioned that the district is confident that their schools are in excellent shape and highlighted upcoming projects to enhance school facilities in North Charleston.

Next Steps

At the end of Thursday’s town hall, the group did not come up with a decision about a referendum for voters to decide whether to split the city’s schools from the district but mentioned they may call for that decision at the next town hall meeting.

Charleston Co. School leaders oppose N. Charleston talk of split from district

HERE Charleston
Author: HERE Charleston

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