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Aiken County Schools Hold Last Town Hall at Oakwood-Windsor

Aiken's Board of Education wants to hear from YOU about redrawing Oakwood-area lines.

"Parents have said to us--why does my child have to leave Oakwood-Windsor and go to Aiken Middle--or Aiken High," said board member Levi Green.

"This is something--I can tell you--that's been floating around for 15-20 years."

Under the redistricting, the area would be divided. Everyone North of highway 78 would stay in the Aiken feeder system. But everyone south of it near Barnwell county would transition into area 5--and go to New Ellenton Middle school, then Silver Bluff High.

Green says this will help bring more students to New Ellenton--who actually live closer to it anyway.

"That school is underutilized. A great educational opportunity for our students in Aiken County," he said.

Right now, New Ellenton Middle is only at 42% capacity. While schools like Kennedy Middle in Aiken are over 100%. Furthermore--the district loses about 15% of students in that area to Barnwell and Williston schools.

Some parents agree.

"I think you've got to do a little bit because of overcrowding issues," said Patrick Rapp.

Others--not so much.

"It's just throwing a whole damper in everything. I think it's ridiculous," said Tonya Blackburn.

"You gotta think about travel times. You have to think about the bus schedules--when they're arriving at the crack of dawn, vs. when they bring your child home."

The board of education says--it's looking at the bigger picture.

"We'd like to be able to get kids over into those two facilities, and give them experiences where we have plenty of space to grow," said Green.

Story by Matt Kaufax, WRDW 12

December 11, 2017