AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WFXG) - Aiken County School Board representatives made a significant decision at Tuesday night's meeting: identifying the attendance lines for the district's newest campus, Highland Springs Middle School (HSMS).

The decision to merge students from both Area 2, North Augusta, and Area 3, Midland Valley/Graniteville, was made after several opportunities for community input and careful consideration of the feedback received. Overwhelmingly, feedback from the hundred or so families that attended the two Town Hall Meetings and the 300 plus respondents to the survey suggested that HSMS's student body should be composed of students from both areas.

The board says its decision reflects the feedback collected during the Town Hall Meetings held in February and the input survey, which resulted in the unification of students across area lines for the first time in district history.

HSMS Principal Paige Day, expressed her satisfaction with the board's decision to unify areas 2 and 3. "This decision will allow HSMS to move forward with competitive programming and to serve the needs of all of the families surrounding our school," she stated. "I look forward to meeting all of our new students and families as we work together to develop a culture and traditions that respect the values and histories of all our stakeholders."

Option One was the favorite scenario among those who identified themselves as Area 2 North Augusta, with 41.9% of respondents selecting it as their preferred option. Scenario One involves both Area 2 and 3, and disrupts the least amount of students and families. "To me, one is the winner, it disrupts the least and will improve transportation and the time getting to those schools overall for students," North Augusta Board Representative Dr. Patricia Hanks explained.

Though not without counter positions raised, the board voted to adopt Scenario One with five in favor and two opposed. Families in Area 2 and 3 who are zoned for HSMS will receive a welcome letter from the school's principal in the coming days and will soon be invited to participate in selecting a school mascot, along with other engagement activities.

Recognizing that some rising eighth-grade students may wish to remain on their current campus for their final year of middle school, priority will be given to rising eighth-graders requesting a school transfer to remain at their current middle school. Transfers in that circumstance should be requested through the regular school choice application, which will be extended for families impacted by Highland Springs zoning from the regular deadline of March 24 to March 31.

"We thank all of the parents, students, and employees who have participated in this process," District Superintendent King Laurence commented. "It’s an exciting time in Aiken County Public Schools, and we appreciate the passion and commitment to doing what’s best for students that has been evident." Families can visit the District's website,, to access the feedback collected during this process and see the impact of the decision, if any, on their school zone using the School Zone Locator link.

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