The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees will vote tonight on whether to expand the Montessori program at Malcolm C. Hursey Elementary School in North Charleston.

Currently, the school includes both a traditional program and a Montessori program under the same roof, an arrangement that district officials have said is financially unsustainable. The district had originally planned to phase out the traditional program, but the transition stalled out in 2010-2011 due to a budget shortfall.

As discussed in last week’s news feature, the debate over the issue is fraught with racial tension, but one of the arguments for making Hursey a full Montessori school is that students in the district’s North Zone ought to have the same school-choice options as students in other zones. Opponents of full Montessori, including school board member Rev. Chris Collins (who has one child in Hursey’s traditional program and one in the Montessori program), have called for the district to maintain the dual-school status at Hursey, saying that making the school full Montessori would displace students from their neighborhood school and force some parents to send their children to two different elementary schools.

The school board meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. at 75 Calhoun St. The item is listed on tonight’s agenda as “Accommodating the Maturation of the Montessori at Hursey Elementary.”

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