UPDATE| Parents concerned about moving Byrd Elemantary 4K class

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Saturday, May 27, 2017.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken County parents won't have to deal with any school rezoning next year, but some parents will see some changes starting this fall.

Starting in August a Byrd Elementary 4K class will move to another elementary school, and that does not sit well with some parents, like Kim Malson.

"Particularly with having a toddler in the home, each morning is unpredictable. It depends," Malson said.

Even when Malson has everything ready to leave the house on time, she said her 3-year-old can easily change that with a simple change in wardrobe.

"It may be one morning 'I want to be a superhero before I leave to go to school,' which could delay us at least 10 to 15 minutes," Malson said.

Malson said her family built their house to be close Byrd Elementary, which is where her son is supposed to start 4K next year, but that has now changed. Starting next school year, a 4K class at Byrd is moving about nine miles away to Jefferson Elementary.

Aiken County Public School's Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford brought up this change during the town hall meeting held at Midland Valley High School last Thursday.

"That will open up an additional classroom at Byrd Elementary School," Dr. Alford said.

Four portable classrooms will also be added to Byrd Elementary. The extra classrooms are part of the plan to help the overcrowding issue at Byrd.

Dr. Alford said there will be transportation for this pre-kindergarten class to Jefferson Elementary from Byrd, but Malson said the longer commute to Jefferson will only make her mornings more difficult and the transportation option brings up safety concerns.

"Even though transportation would be provided, which is appreciative, but that's concerning. How many car seats are going to fit on that bus? How do I know my child is going to be secure?," Malson said

It is hard enough letting go of your baby on their first day of school, and this mom said now it will be even harder.

"The thought of being that far away from my child as well is a hard pill to swallow," Malson said.

We have reached out to the Aiken County School District about the change and if car seats will be added to the buses that will take the 4K class to Jefferson. We will update you as soon as we get more information.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken County Schools are looking at rezoning options to help with overcrowded schools.
ACPS held a town hall meeting at Midland Valley High School on Thursday to introduce the possible plans to parents.

Many parents, including Ricky Lowe said they want the overcrowding issue to be addressed but don't want their child switching schools to be the solution.

"It's a good problem we are growing, but I just hate to see what's going on," Lowe said.

Overcrowded schools are a big concern for Aiken County parents, but so is rezoning.

ACPS Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford introduced the three rezoning options the school district is considering. Option A suggests rezoning within the area. Option B looks at rezoning across Area 1, Area 2 and Area 3. Option C would rezone the whole school district. Dr. Alford said coming up with a decision and putting it in place won't happen overnight.

"What we cannot do is run down a hill, make a decision that is not the right decision," Dr. Alford said. "We need to walk down the hill."

Katrina Robinson said she is worried that swapping schools will cost students in another way.

"I'm concerned about her losing her credits. A a parent, I'm concerned about that," Robinson said.

Robinson said her daughter went to North Augusta High School, but goes to Midland Valley High School now.
When her daughter transferred some of her credits didn't, and Robinson said she doesn't want her daughter to lose even more if she had o switch again.

"Her senior year. we can all be expecting her to graduate and they say 'well she don't have this or she don't have that,'" Robinson said.

Dr. Alford said they try to make sure every school has similar course offerings to eliminate that worry, but Stan Johnson said he is still uneasy.

"They haven't done away with my fears," Johnson said.

Johnson said he doesn't agree with rezoning and wants the students to have options.

"So that the students that are here now in Area 3 can stay in Area 3," Johnson said.

Dr. Alford said the ACPS Work Group will finish studying the three options by the end of summer and the report will be out between Labor Day and Halloween. He said there will be another town meeting once the report is finished to talk about the results with parents and receive feedback.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A town hall meeting has been set for next week to address questions about rezoning.

The town hall is set to take place in the auditorium of Midland Valley High on May 18, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 News 12 First at Five

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- New homes creating new problems for the Midland Valley area, as the school district turns to rezoning to help overcrowded schools.

"Looking at lines within the district and not moving people out of the district," Aiken County School Board Chairman Levi Green said.

The school board approved moving forward with a firm to look at ways to balance out overcrowded schools, but keep kids in the areas they grew up.

\But some of the changes could see kids leaving schools like Byrd Elementary and possibly the new Leavelle McCampbell.

"I'm not too excited about the rezoning, everybody was looking forward to going to the new school that was built, my kids were, I was looking forward to them going and I just don't like it," Joseph Lloyd said, who's kids got to Byrd and Leavelle McCampbell.

The focus is on the Midland Valley area with Byrd Elementary at 119 percent capacity, but other schools in the area could ease some of the overcrowding.

"The line is drawn such that, some of the kids live closer to Gloverville than they do to Byrd, so that could be a soft line that could be changed," Green said.

Other options like a new charter school in Graniteville are off the table after the board denied Cotton Mill's application, which some hoped would relieve overcrowded schools.

"The funding was not a guaranteed funding mechanism, the goals were not specific in terms of student achievement," Green said.

With other options gone, parents are still hesitant about rezoning.

"We got to come back and tell our kids where they was used to growing up, going to school with all their friends now they got to go to another school, I just don't like it," Lloyd said.

Now none of the rezoning will take place next school year so we are still a year away from this. In the meantime, the district approved four portable classrooms for Byrd Elementary to help. They also approved four new classrooms being built in the new Leavelle McCampbell to be proactive for future growth.

Read the original version of this article at www.wrdw.com.