Every article regarding the public school budget shortfall has included the school board's examination of "closings," reconfigured attendance zones and instructional programs that "might attract students to under-capacity schools" as possible solutions to the problem.
Closing two schools with a total enrollment of 600 does not solve a 6,000-student underutilization problem. Rezoning was supposed to be accomplished last year. The school district already has magnet programs that are supposed to attract students but don't.
I suggest the following:
Compare the number of non-teaching district employees to three comparable school districts in the state. If our employee-to-student ratio is greater, start saving money by reducing the number of nonteaching employees. No Beaufort County taxpayer would complain.
Determine how many students at Whale Branch Early College High School are actually enrolled in college courses. I suspect the name of the school is propaganda. If my suspicion is correct, mandate that all students countywide who are enrolled in both high school and the Technical College of the Lowcountry attend Whale Branch. No parent will complain about this. After all, it's a free start to college for their children.
Examine the number of out-of-zone students enrolled at all schools. I understand allowing a student school-of-choice programs not available in a student's home school. But if that student is not enrolled in that special program, that student should be returned to his or her home school.Make these findings transparent by publishing the results in the newspaper.