Numbers-wise, the move made sense. Removing almost 200 students from Gettys Middle School would relieve overcrowding (which would continue even after the school moves into the current Easley High School facility). So Gettys Middle School would benefit.
At the same time, such a move would increase the enrollment at Dacusville Middle School to about the same as Liberty Middle School. With more students, a more diversified slate of courses could be offered. So Dacusville Middle School would benefit.
But education is not about numbers; it is about children and parents, and their educational needs are often tied to their emotional needs.
Dacusville is a very self-contained community. As one parent noted, buses are often picking up kindergarten students on up to high school seniors, but parents are comfortable, because they know everybody who is on the bus. Growth is something they want to deal with gradually, not in one large lump.
The students who would be moved to Dacusville Middle are a portion of those who attended East End and Crosswell. Parents from these two school were upset that their children would be separated from a good number of their friends during their middle school years. Some also voiced concerns about the distance between Dacusville Middle and the new Easley High School, which is near the Anderson County line. A parent with one child in middle school and one in high school could expect to do lots of traveling during the school year.
Dacusville parents felt comfortable with the level of education available at the school. They bragged about the academic achievements of the DMS students.
Parents from the East End and Crosswell areas made sure that is was clear they had no problem with the quality of education available at DMS. They just didn’t want their children to lose their sense of community.
Another sticking point would be that the displaced children from Crosswell and East End would attend DMS for three years, then go to Easley High School. The remaining DMS students would attend Pickens High School, meaning more friendships would be severed.
One parent suggested that instead of selling the current Gettys Middle School facility, the district remodel it and create a second middle school in Easley.
District officials said such a move would not be financially feasible, despite the district’s $300-plus million facilities plan. We agree that now is not the time for the distict to go further into debt.
District officials hoped the plan would help postpone the 1400-student Gettys Middle School growing to an unmanageable 1600-student school. Removing 200 students would postpone such a problem for a few years, but creating a second school would perhaps eliminate that problem for at least a generation.
We will be honest — we are not sure that such a move will be financially feasible. But the long-term benefits of such a move make it worth at least giving it a closer look.