A rezoning process that started off with 12 possible attendance maps came to fruition on June 12 when District 2 Constituent School Board rendered their final decision on a new attendance map that will define which Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island neighborhoods are zoned for Lucy Beckham High School and which will stay at Wando High School.
Ever since Lucy Beckham's opening was set for the fall of 2020, the constituent school board has held several parent-input meetings to give parents the opportunity to voice concerns about the upcoming attendance map decisions. The most widely talked about concern of parents is wanting their child to attend the school closest to home, but due to the size difference between the two schools it's an unrealistic reality.
The construction of Lucy Beckham's $103.7 million, three-story building is set to have 1,500 seats available when it opens. Wando currently has an enrollment of approximately 4,000 students.
During the Public Comment portion of the forum, Mount Pleasant resident Denise Boozer brought forth a petition with 739 signatures in support of students residents from the 29464 area code to be zoned for Lucy Beckham.
After narrowing their decision down to three possible attendance maps, the school board voted 3-2 to go with Proposal B-1 attendance map. The map includes all neighborhoods zoned to attend Belle Hall Elementary, James B. Edwards Elementary, Mount Pleasant Academy and Whitesides Elementary that are south of the Isle of Palms Connector and west of the Intracoastal Waterway. However, it excludes students from Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms.
“I believe that B-1 matches the numbers we need to hit, it keeps as many kids together as possible. It addresses road issues, helps with traffic glow and at least keeps the islands together,” said board member Pamela Jouan-Goldman. Other proponents of B-1 concurred it is “the cleanest map.”
In dissent, board member Trey Tezza argued Sullivan’s Island should be included in the zoning on account that it would not put Lucy Beckham over capacity. According to Tezza's calculations, Sullivan's Island would only add nine students per grade which would still keep Lucy Beckham under capacity.
“I think that when we talk about keeping students together we’re either globally applying that or we’re not. In this case we are separating a school," Tezza added, who made a motion to amend map B-1 to include Sullivan's Island which ultimately failed.
Under map B-1's zoning, students from Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms will be required to attend Wando despite travel time being unproportional compared to neighboring communities.
The new attendance line is estimated to bring 1,429 students to Lucy Beckham, which puts the school at 90% capacity. No transfer students will be admitted into Lucy Beckham for the first year, according to the board.
"We have to pick something, it's not politically motivated, I want to really make that clear," said board chair Sarah Shad Johnson. "Unfortunately, we just can't zone them all. I wish we could."
Charleston County School District will notify all D2 principals of the decision and robocalls will me made to all D2 families throughout the summer.