Rock Hill schools to stop transporting students to magnet campuses

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comJanuary 27, 2014 

— The Rock Hill school board on Monday voted to stop transporting students to the district’s three magnet schools and change their classification from “magnet” to “choice.”

Luanne Kokolis, associate superintendent for planning and support, told the board during its January work session that 66 students who live outside the schools’ attendance zones take the bus this school year to Oakdale Elementary, Saluda Trail Middle School and Sunset Park Center for Accelerated Studies.

Transporting students from outside the attendance zones to the magnet schools cost the district more than $165,000 in the 2012-2013 school year. Through December of this year, the cost was more than $76,000.

The affected students will still receive transportation through the rest of this school year. The changes will start in the 2014-2015 school year.

Board members Jane Sharp and Ginny Moe voted against the measure. Without providing transportation, Sharp said, schools of choice aren’t a real option because so many students can’t get to facilities outside their attendance zones.

“We’re re-segregating our schools in terms of social class and in terms of economics,” Sharp said. “And I don’t like that.”

Board member Walter Brown said that the district is providing quality schools of choice, but it simply can’t afford the cost of transporting those students.

About 30 students across all three schools will be affected next school year, Kokolis said, and the district is looking at ways to help those students remain at their school for the rest of their time, if transportation is an issue for the families.

By changing the classification of Oakdale, Saluda Trail and Sunset Park from “magnet” to “choice,” the district is not required to provide transportation for students, but children who live outside of their attendance zones can apply to attend those schools.

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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