Solving overcrowding at Ocean Bay Middle School still under discussion

On Monday night, the Horry County School Board discussed three potential options that would alleviate an ongoing overcrowding issue at Ocean Bay Middle School in Carolina Forest.

The options were presented at a school board meeting earlier this month.

The three options are as follows:

A sixth grade will be added to three elementary schools including Ocean Bay, Carolina Forest, and River Oaks, which are all located in the Carolina Forest area.

The second option is to move students who live in Carolina Forest attendance areas west of Gardner Lacy Road and Myrtle Ridge Drive from Ocean Bay Middle School to Blackwater Middle School or Palmetto Bays Elementary School.

The third option would be to build a $17 million addition onto Ocean Bay Middle School.

On Monday night, the board chose to seek more information about the first two options, which would be combined, if decided upon.

The board also rejected the third option to build an addition.

At this time, Chairman of the Horry County School Board Joe Defeo believes, out of all three options, adding sixth grades at three elementary schools would be the best idea, primarily because it would alleviate the overcrowding issue in Ocean Bay Middle School immediately.

"Right now I would be voting for K-6. We're going to get more information, but K-6 is used as a model, not just in South Carolina, but all over the country. It's not an odd model. There's nothing strange about it," Defeo said.

However, Defeo said more information needs to be presented about all options, particularly the K-6 model, to determine how elementary schools and students would be affected, including bus routes.

Ultimately, many of the board members, including Defeo, would like the realignment changes to be in place by the start of the 2014 school year.

For this to happen, a decision will need to be made by January.

These options will be discussed again in greater detail at the school board's next meeting on December 16.