The Beaufort County Board of Education is expected to decide tonight what to do about crowding in Bluffton area middle schools.
The board will discuss a community committee's recommendation to install modular classrooms at Bluffton High School, and move ninth-graders to the school this fall.
The cost to add the modular classrooms is estimated at $2 million.
The recommendation, which was first presented to the board Thursday, is the committee's short-term solution to alleviate growing at Bluffton Middle and H.E. McCracken Middle schools.
The two middle schools would return to a sixth- through eighth-grade structure.
Currently sixth- and seventh-graders attend Bluffton Middle, and eighth- and ninth-graders attend McCracken. Those grade structures -- unique to those two schools -- were established in 2011 as a temporary fix to crowding at Bluffton High School.
But now the middle schools are bursting at the seams. Bluffton Middle is only 20 students shy of its 1,035-student capacity. McCracken exceeds its 909-student capacity by 21.
Eventually, a long-term solution will be needed for the schools. The committee has begun to review options, but is not slated to make a recommendation until May.
The board is also expected to review an Aug. 5, 2011 motion that reassigned students from Red Cedar and Okatie elementaries to Bluffton Elementary.
The school board meets at 6 p.m. in the Beaufort County Council Chambers, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort.
Check back with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette for updates to this story later tonight and follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.
- Bluffton committee recommends adding classrooms at high school to ease crowding, March 3, 2013
- Committee narrows options to relieve Bluffton middle school crowding, Jan. 26, 2013
- Committee hears option to ease crowding in Bluffton schools, Jan. 10, 2013
- Elementary student shift in Bluffton raises parent concerns, Sept. 27, 2011