Study suggests creating all 6th grade school at Aiken Middle to balance student population, reduced lunch program

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Balancing the student population in Aiken County schools is a work in progress.

The cafeteria at Kennedy Middle School is packed with students during lunch period.

According to an enrollment study 845 kids go to K.M.S. and while 383 receive free or reduced lunch.

Across town, 498 students go to school at Aiken Middle, while 428 of them participate in the reduced lunch program.

At Schofield Middle, the lunch room serves free and reduced lunch to 352 students, out of the 503 that go there.

Chief Officer of Administration King Laurence says the population imbalance is obvious in the number of students that attend each school.

Just rezoning Area 1, will balance the number of kids at each school and the number of kids participating in the reduced lunch program.

“We have a unique opportunity, in Area 1, because we have 3 middle schools.” Laurence told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “With 3 middle schools we can be creative and that’s where that 6th grade intermediate concept comes from.”

That concept would put all Area 1 6th graders at Aiken Middle School for that year only.

“And then from there going to either Schofield and then on to Aiken High School or to Kennedy and then on to South Aiken High School.” Laurence said.

Laurence says the intermediate program has been successful in Lexington County.

Still the idea is just a recommendation, but it would solve overcrowding at Kennedy Middle.

“And what that does is it equalizes the utilization of those schools. Now all of the schools would be under 700,” he said. “But it also equalizes the demographics, the free and reduced lunch populations. While they are not exactly the same, they get closer in line with these shifts.”

School leaders want to hear from you about how to address overcrowding in the district.

The next town hall meeting is Thursday, November 16th at Aiken High.

It begins at 6:30 p.m.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.  

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