District considers redrawing attendance patterns in Liberty

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PICKENS CO., S.C. (WSPA) — Big changes could impact some Pickens County students if a proposal being considered by school district leaders to change attendance patterns for the two elementary schools in Liberty is approved.
 
Currently, both Liberty and Chastain Road Elementary Schools teach Pre-K through 5th grade. If this proposal is approved next month then all Pre-K through 2nd graders would go to Chastain Road Elementary and all 3rd through 5th grade students would attend Liberty Elementary.
 
That would mean students would stay together from kindergarten through graduation. The district says that would bring unity to the small community and it may also have instructional benefits.
 
At a community meeting Tuesday evening, some parents with multiple children said they’re open to the idea but concerned about having kids at two different schools and that could mean problems for drop off and pick up times. 
Tanis Mullinax spoke to 7News at the meeting and said she’s open to the idea of redrawing attendance lines but she wants to know more from district leaders before she’s fully onboard. 
“Right now I just go to Lberty, have my drop off and go home. Well, then I’m going to have to go to either Chastain Road and drive across town. That’s like 4.7 miles,” she said. ‬
John Eby, ‬School District of Pickens County, Public Information Specialist with the School District of Pickens County said district leaders are already looking at ways to ease the potential burden on some parents.
 
“Staggering start times to 7:50 and 8:00 to give folks more time to make that route and we’re also considering, nothing’s final, a shuttle that may run from one school to the other,” Eby said.
 
On June 7, the board will consider voting on the proposal.  If approved, the hange would go into effect in the fall of 2020.

 

A release from the district office said:

“The idea for changing the attendance pattern for the elementary schools arose from community members looking at ways to unite the Liberty community. The Liberty attendance area is unique in that its small size allows the possibility for students to stay together from kindergarten through graduation. The SDPC administration supports the change, because allowing schools to specialize on particular age groups may have programmatic and instructional benefits. To make the new attendance pattern work, SDPC would consider staggering arrival times to make morning drop-offs easier.

Because one of the primary goals of the change would be to strengthen the unity of the Liberty community, we do not want to pursue the change unless it has strong community support.”

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