In response to Beaufort County School board member Julie C. Bell's letter, "Whale Branch School a success, not a 'fiasco'," I would like to clarify my intentions as I think she seriously misunderstood them. In referring to Whale Branch Early College High School as a "fiasco," I was in no way berating the student body; I was actually questioning Beaufort County School District's judgment.
I have no doubt that the students at the Whale Branch high school have accomplished much; their achievements have been outstanding and commendable. The issue lies in the district's zoning plan, including the location of the school. A chart published in the town of Bluffton's 2007 comprehensive plan shows that the population of the area that includes current-day Bluffton increased by 421 percent between 1980 and 2000. The area that is zoned for Whale Branch increased by a mere 37 percent over those same years.
So again, the question arises as to why the school was built in an area that was not expected to grow rapidly. Why wasn't it built in a town with a recorded 12-times higher growth rate? As a highly respectable community, Whale Branch High in and of itself is certainly not a fiasco; this is simply a case in which the greater good for the greater number has not been served. At the time the school was built, Bluffton schools were already near or at capacity. The school district needs to be proactive rather than reactive in zoning and construction. It needs to stop making irresponsible decisions that disadvantage all Beaufort County students.