Meetings held in Jasper Co. to discuss proposed deconsolidation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Meetings held in Jasper Co. to discuss proposed deconsolidation plan

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

After four years of consolidation, the Jasper County School District is looking for ways to better serve its students and communities.

One option is deconsolidating schools and separating students.

The consolidation took place in 2012 and put all of the county's middle school students in Hardeeville and all of the county's high school students in Ridgeland.

The goal of the consolidation was to save money, the district anticipated on saving more than $1 million with the merger. But since 2012, the school board has examined its progress, and unfortunately, it's not seeing academic improvements or the money it thought it was going to save.

The finance committee says the biggest challenge when it comes to the consolidation issue is making sure it benefits students.

"The challenge is to basically make sure that the kids do get to what we would like to have them achieve, at which is reading at an early age because that is certainly the foundation for the rest of the lives as far as education wise,” said Jasper County School Board Finance Committee Jerold Murray.

The committee says one of the biggest obstacles it is facing with deconsolidation is cost. The school district already has an estimated $2.8 million that can be used for renovating existing schools or constructing new ones.

However, another $2 million would be needed to hire at least 45 teachers for the deconsolidation to keep classroom sizes at an acceptable student to teacher ratio of 20 to 1.

The school district says this is just the beginning of de-consolidation meetings, and there will be plenty more in the future. Once we know when the next one is, we will let you know.

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