School Board rejects motion to make attendance line changes in Carolina Forest, Conway

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County School Board voted against a motion Monday night that would change the locations where certain students would attend school in Conway and Carolina Forest beginning Fall 2014.  Attendance line changes have been recommended in Carolina Forest, Conway, Loris and North Myrtle Beach. Several parents showed up Monday night to voice their concerns on why this would negatively impact their children.

"I think I an speak for the voice of everybody and say we are not for the realignment," Brad Richardson said.

"The Board gave the site committees four directives with the number one being community integrity and I don't think that was accomplished with this," a different concerned parent said.

The issue most parents were speaking against states that if passed, students in Carolina Forest who live west of U.S. 501 from Conway to the Intracoastal Waterway, including those in the Burcale and Arrowhead Road areas as well as those living in Waterford Plantation, Myrtle Beach National and north of Gardner Lacy Road would be sent to Black Water Middle School.

"Time normally spent with children when we choose to drive them will be stripped away. We'll be forced to decide which child are we gonna take to school? Which child's gonna take the bus?," Richardson said.

At Monday's meeting, there was a motion to reject that part of the recommendation, that motion passed with a unanimous vote.

"Nobody wanted to send, I mean the people of Burcale Road were shifted from Myrtle Beach to Ocean Bay Middle and now to Black Water Middle. That's the third farthest school and their closer to four other schools. Waterford Plantation same thing. I mean we're shifting them out to a farther area so the board did not like it," School Board Chairman Joe Defeo said.

Another recommendation made- that stated in Conway, eliminate the split at South Conway Elementary School, sending all of those students to Whittemore Park Middle School, keeping them in the Conway attendance area, rather than sending some to Black Water Middle School, which is in Carolina Forest. Some Conway Middle School students also would shift to Whittemore Park. But that recommendation was also rejected.

Two of the recommendations made by the site committee did pass.

One is in Loris, to create more logical boundaries for the area, shifting the students at Kingston Elementary School who move on to Loris middle and high schools to either Loris or Daisy elementary school.

And the other recommendation that passed- in North Myrtle Beach, realign the primary (pre-kindergarten through first grade), elementary (grades two and three) and intermediate (grades four and five) schools to each serve students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

The board also passed a motion to ask the site committee to start researching ways an addition can be added to Ocean Bay Middle School as a way to deal with the overcrowding.

"I do believe that the building of a school or additions will end up being the answer but until the district comes back with a recommendation to us on expanding ocean bay middle I don't even know how I'm gonna vote on it," Defeo said.

Monday's vote was not binding. It's a Committee of the Whole vote, which is similar to a first reading, just to see what the board's intentions are at this point. Even though the board officially votes down some of the recommended changes, it won't be completely back to the drawing board. Defeo says the school board expects to see new recommendations from the site committee mid-December.

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