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Lexington One School Board working on rezoning of middle schools to prepare for Beechwood opening

Lexington, S.C. - At the January 15 meeting of the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees, the board heard the first reading of recommended attendance lines for their new Beechwood Middle School. Beechwood Middle is being built at 1340 Highway 378 west of the town of Lexington. It is expected to open for classes in August of 2019. When completed, the school will be able to accommodate 1,200 students, but has the capacity to serve 1,500 students in the future with some modest additions.

Rezoning is often unpopular but necessary. Beechwood’s proposed attendance zone could change where students currently attend three schools, Lexington Middle, Meadow Glen Middle,and Pleasant Hill Middle schools. In other words, some children who attend these schools this year, or may have in the future, could attend a different school after the new attendance lines go into effect next year.

The proposed new attendance lines would help alleviate overcrowding at the older schools. District representatives say they hope the new lines will help them efficiently use facilities, minimize the dividing of subdivisions or neighborhoods, consider the balance of student diversity, allow future student growth in permanent facilities, consider bus routes for safe and efficient student transportation, and utilize natural and major road boundaries like interstates, major highways and roads, Lake Murray’s shoreline, and other features where possible.

The new proposed lines would hopefully create true high school feeder patterns. These are considered for many reasons and can help keep students together from kindergarten through the 12thgrade. They also best utilize the features and capacity of the high schools. Beechwood Middle and Pleasant Hill Middle would feed students to Lexington High School while Lexington Middle and Meadow Glen Middle students would eventually transition into River Bluff High School.

Currently, Lexington Middle has 998 students, Meadow Glen Middle has 1,040, and Pleasant Hill Middle has 1,205 students.If no eighth-graders elect to stay at their current schools by a process called “grandfathering” after the rezoning, the district thinks that when Beechwood Middle opens, it will house 900 students, Lexington Middle will drop to 728, Meadow Glen Middle will go down to 878, and Pleasant Hill Middle will have about 717.

The district will allow rising eighth-graders slated to change middle schools next year due to rezoning, the opportunity to stay at their current school for their final year at the school if their parents provide transportation. This is that “grandfathering”process mentioned earlier. Immersion students, children who attend programs where they are immersed in courses that are taught all day in Spanish for instance, will have the same opportunity to stay at those schools too. Parents will be given the opportunity to make that decision later.

The district will hold three public meetings so that the public can hear a formal presentation and review maps of the proposed new attendance lines. Each will take place at 6:30 p.m., however Lexington District One staff will stay until 7:30 p.m. to answer questions. Parents can come to any of these meetings. If you can’t attend the one at your child’s school, the district will provide the same information at all three meetings so you can just go to another.

The zoning meetings will take place on:

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Lexington Middle School’s theater

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Pleasant Hill Middle School’s theater

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Meadow Glen Middle School’s theater

The Board of Trustees will hold a second reading of the zoning plan at the February 19 Board Meeting and a third reading of the zoning plan at the March 19 Board Meeting.

Parents can also keep up with information about the rezoning process online at http://www.lexington1.net/lexnews/lexington-district-one-begins-zoning-process.

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