Riverview's permanent site approved

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Riverview's permanent site approved

By RACHEL HEATON
rheaton@beaufortgazette.com
Published Wednesday, March 7, 2012   |  770 Words  |  

The federal Office for Civil Rights has approved Riverview Charter School's permanent location on seven acres on Old Salem Road in Beaufort, according to a Beaufort County School District news release.

The county Board of Education approved the site in December. OCR's authorization is required under a voluntary desegregation plan the district has operated under for about 40 years.

Riverview must raise money to design and build the school.

Riverview is negotiating with the district to lease the Shell Point Elementary School building in the interim. Shell Point Elementary is to be closed next school year.School board proposes plan to settle Riverview dispute

The Beaufort County Board of Education has offered to clear up concerns about Riverview Charter School's enrollment by amending its charter.

However, a Riverview official calls the proposal a cap that would make it more difficult to add students in the future.

The school board voted Tuesday to approve an amendment to the charter agreement that would allow the school to enroll 456 students next school year and 494 students for 2013-14 and beyond unless otherwise agreed to in writing. It also would allow for three classes per grade level, in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The proposal was approved 6-3; board members Michael Rivers, Ron Speaks and Steven Morello voted no. Board members Bill Evans and George Wilson were absent.

Riverview board chairman Mike Freeman said his board -- which also would have to approve the amendment -- likely would discuss the proposal Monday, but he does not expect a vote then.

Freeman said he had not discussed the proposal with the county school board and did not know it was coming.

Attempts Wednesday to reach Riverview director Alison Thomas were unsuccessful.

District officials say the proposed amendment simply makes a recent court ruling part of the school's charter agreement.

A federal judge ruled last month that Riverview was allowed 456 students in the 2012-13 school year and 494 students for 2013-14, but future enrollment would have to be negotiated between the school and the district.

"All we're saying is, take the court order and put it in the charter agreement because that is the document we live by," said Jackie Rosswurm, district liaison to Riverview.

Riverview officials have said they have always understood that enrollment numbers for 2014-15 and beyond would have to be approved by the school board as part of a five-year budget projection.

If the Riverview board approved the proposed amendment, the Board of Education would drop its recent appeal of the case, school board Chairman Fred Washington Jr. said.

It was not clear Wednesday how much the legal dispute has cost either the school district or Riverview.

Freeman has said the school plans to expand to 684 students and four classes of each grade by 2019-20, but no formal proposal for that expansion has been presented to the Board of Education.

"We're never discussed a cap, and that was never part of our plan," Freeman said. "They are trying to get us to abandon our growth plan for years six through 10 and agree to that cap."

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

Related content

  1. School board to appeal decision in Riverview enrollment dispute; March 2, 2012
  2. Judge rules in favor of Riverview in Beaufort County enrollment dispute; Feb. 1, 2012
  3. Trial between Riverview, school district continues; Jan. 31, 2012
  4. Riverview argues school district changed 'the rules of the game' in enrollment dispute; Jan. 30, 2012
  5. Riverview, school district headed to court over enrollment dispute; Jan. 25, 2012
  6. Riverview, school district urged to reach agreement over enrollment lawsuit; Dec. 2, 2011
  7. Riverview sues school district over enrollment dispute; April 5, 2011
  8. Permanent site for Riverview Charter approved by school board; will be sent to OCR; Dec. 13, 2011