The Charleston County School District will host a meeting at 6 p.m. (or 5 p.m. according to a district meeting list) Tuesday, May 22, in the Burke High School auditorium to get community input on the fate of the Rivers Middle School campus. The district closed the school a few years back and moved students to the new Burke High School. The district has since used the building for multiple purposes, but charter school leaders have begun eyeing the campus as the most cost-efficient facility for their purposes and the district itself is looking at the large building for it’s own specialty programs.
Parents forming the Charter School for Math and Science have made no secret that the Rivers building is ideal for their plans and the Gregg Mathis Charter School, with students typically kicked out of traditional public schools, recently made a similar request for the building because of the cramped space at the school’s current location. The district is also developing programs focusing on technology and preservation with hopes that a refurbished Rivers campus could serve their needs.
Key to the discussion Tuesday will be planned improvements to the Burke campus. There has been some concern by community members that programs at Rivers will pull the best students from under-performing Burke, but the district wants to make it clear that it is expanding programs on the high school’s campus as well, including career academy programs (as part of the state-mandated system), dual-credit programs with Trident Technical College, and an Advanced Placement Academy expected to begin in 2008.
As for Rivers, there are five proposals the district will float in front of community members Tuesday:
1. A shared facility between the district’s Lowcountry High Tech High and the Charter School for Math and Science.
2. A shared facility between High Tech High and the Gregg Mathis Charter School.
3. Solely used by the Charter School for Math and Science.
4. A shared facility between the Gregg Mathis Charter, a Restoration High program, and adult education programs.
5. A shared facility between High Tech High, Restoration High, and adult education programs.
Final recommendations on the potential uses of the facility are expected to be presented in late summer or early fall.