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‘Mayor blasts district’s treatment of N. Charleston students 

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey released a letter sent to the Charleston County School District’s interim superintendent raising concerns about how the district allegedly treats students in North Charleston. 

In the letter, addressed to CCSD Interim Superintendent Donald Kennedy and CCSD Board Chair Dr. Eric Mack, Summey says the district receives more than 21% of its property tax revenue from properties within the city limits. 

“However, North Charleston’s schools and students are treated as second best,” Summey writes. “Many of our school facilities are in shambles, enjoying few of the upgrades seen at schools in our neighboring municipalities.” 
As a result, he said, the city, its residents and businesses “bear the brunt of financially supporting CCSD, all the while being short-changed.” 
Summey said North Charleston schools are some of “the most underperforming and struggling schools in the district,” with two of the city’s school zones performing “so poorly as to be included as part of the ‘Reimagine Schools’ proposal” the district is considering. 
“That is alarming in two regards. First, it is alarming that two North Charleston school zones are performing poorly enough to require drastic retooling,” Summey wrote. “Second, incredibly CCSD solicited no meaningful city input when developing this proposal. It is commonly accepted that community change is impossible without community involvement. Yet without community input, there can be no community involvement.” 

Summey said the district’s “decide and dictate from headquarters approach” to his city is “sadly, not confined to the Reimagine Schools proposal.” 

Mayor also criticizes N. Charleston school athletic facilities 

Summey also criticized district athletic facilities at North Charleston Schools. As an example, he referred to the new District IV stadium, which he said was “billed as a duplicate of the Wando stadium,” but that he said “fails in comparison.” 

“There is no track and Wando is not made to share its stadium with Beckham, as was promised,” Summey said. “In contrast, four schools must share the District IV stadium. To make matters worse, the District IV stadium has little, if any, storage and the locker rooms are a disgrace. Matters are no better on CCSD school properties in North Charleston. There are no track or practice facilities at North Charleston High and Academic Magnet. Both must use North Charleston City facilities.” 

Summey said he received no response after raising a proposal with the district nearly a year ago that might fund track upgrades at Danny Jones Stadium. He said North Charleston undertook a “unilateral plan” to renovate the stadium. 

“I understand that at CCSD’s January 2022 Board meeting a measure was passed supporting $350,000 to be given to North Charleston for track upgrades,” Summey wrote. “The problem is, at this point, it is unclear whether the renovated Danny Jones complex will even include a track. Had CCSD simply communicated with the city along the way, our children could have enjoyed a far better outcome.” 

He then cited what he called “another example of poor CCSD communication:” the track and football field adjacent to the Military Magnet school. 

“It has come to the city’s attention that Military Magnet has taken the position that the track and field are their facilities and does not allow other schools to use it,” Summey wrote. “That is not a decision for CCSD or the Military Magnet to unilaterally make. The city should be consulted. Not only is it the right thing to do for the community, North Charleston OWNS the land underneath the track and football field.” 

Summey said the purpose of his letter was to “put CCSD on notice” that he and North Charleston City Council are “extremely dissatisfied with the level of “cooperation and communication” from the district. 

“Though my strong preference would be to improve CCSD’s service to the children of North Charleston, the city has reluctantly begun to investigate ways in which CCSD may be cast aside in favor of more competent management,” Summey wrote. “I have met with members of the legislative delegation about proposing the deconsolidation of CCSD.” 

He said North Charleston would pursue that as an option of last result, adding that decision “actually lies in the hands of CCSD.” 

Summey ends the letter saying he looks forward to a Feb. 15 meeting and hopes “we can discuss how the current shortcomings can be remedied while remaining part of CCSD.” 

District issues response to Summey’s letter 

The Charleston County School District released a statement Thursday afternoon acknowledging their receipt of Summey’s letter. 

District spokesman Andy Pruitt released the following statement on behalf of Kennedy: 

We have received Mayor Summey’s letter. I feel confident that the Mayor, the CCSD Board Members, and District administration all share the goal of providing the best education possible for the children of North Charleston. We look forward to sitting down face-to-face with Mayor Summey and discussing these very important issues raised in his letter. 

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved. 

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