The Charleston County School District staff is preparing to offer its recommendations tonight to the school board for reorganization plans that would shutter schools countywide to cut expenses. For downtown schools, that includes a recommendation to close Fraser Elementary and Charleston Progressive Academy at the end of the school year.

“I’m trying to understand would how I’m going to explain to my children what we’re going to do, where they’re going to go,” a Charleston Progressive parent told the board.

Fellow parent Renata Turner asked the board to do some soul searching. “The parent, teachers, staff, and students are committed,” she said.

The district will be holding public forums to discuss the proposed changes. The downtown meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 16 in the Burke High School auditorium from 6:30-8 p.m.

“We are concerned about the human side,” says Superintendent Nancy McGinley. “No one wants to see their neighborhood school closed.”

But the end result should be improved schools, she says, by strengthening opportunities and replicating success.

The district also would temporarily relocate Buist Academy and Memminger Elementary School in 2010, rebuilding the schools to address seismic concerns. One proposal would have Buist middle school students remaining at the former Charleston Progressive campus after work is done on the new Buist building, potentially adding up to 400 students to the Buist magnet program.

The district would relocate James Simmons Elementary School to the Rivers Campus. The Charleston Charter School for Math and Science would be moved to the Archer campus. The school is currently using trailers while waiting for use of the Rivers Campus while the building is upgraded.

A breakdown of the peninsula recommendations:

Option One: James K. Simmons Elementary would be closed and sold in 2012, with students relocated to the Rivers campus and expanded to include seventh graders. Memminger Elementary would be demolished and rebuilt to include seventh and eighth grade students. Mitchell would also be expanded to include seventh and eighth grade students. Sanders Clyde would move into its newly constructed campus in 2010, handing the Archer campus over to the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science. Fraser Elementary would be closed next year with students transferred to Sanders Clyde. The campus would serve as swing space for Memminger students for two years before sold in 2012. Buist would be demolished in 2010 to be rebuilt, with students using the McNair campus in the interim. Charleston Progressive would be closed and repurposed for Montessori Community School of Charleston.

Option Two: Same as Option One, except Charleston Progressive would be used as a temporary home for Buist during construction and then converted to a Buist Middle School in 2012.

Option Three: Same as Option Two, except Burke remains a 7-12 campus, with James Simmons, Mitchell, and Meminger remaining pre-school thru six. Fraser would be handed over to the city and Trident Tech to be used as a police training academy.