Redrawing districtwide attendance zones has been no easy pill for some Beaufort County parents to swallow.
After Wednesday night's Student Services Committee meeting, it's clear school board members find it no easier to take.
After five town hall meetings to hear concerns from the community and two committee meetings to discuss that feedback, the group still could not agree on a plan to recommend to the full board.
"My hope was that we would have come to a point of recommendation after these meetings," committee co-chair Evva Anderson said. "But I also don't feel comfortable pushing something forward without the full support of the committee."
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Anderson said she remains confident the board can make a decision by its April 1 deadline. There are just a few more tough decisions that need to be nailed down, she said.
Three unanswered questions became apparent Wednesday night:
"The question that came to us is if we are ready to make a recommendation to the full board, and I am saying no," said board member Laura Bush. "I'm not prepared or ready to come forward with a recommendation with this plan because I still feel we have some things to discuss and questions to answer."
However, some board members feel the proposed attendance zones have been discussed enough.
Board member Earl Campbell made a motion Wednesday to recommend superintendent Jeff Moss' proposed plan. But when his motion drew no support, Campbell withdrew it.
"We have discussed this long enough, we have to make a decision," he said. "I don't see anything else we need to discuss. We either need to make some changes and redraw some lines or approve the proposal."
Many parents agree although fewer and fewer of them have been coming to recent meetings.
"The decisions have to be made and the change has to be done," Bluffton parent Heidi Hanson said. "Either it's now or we are going to be back here again in a year."
The board has one more meeting before its April deadline, having set aside several hours during a two-day work session March 28-29.
That time should be enough to iron out final decisions, Anderson said.
"It's time we buck up and make those tough decisions," she said. "We keep going around and around on these discussions, but it will never be perfect so we just need to do what is best for the future of the district and students."
Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.