Parents upset at new plan for STEM middle school - FOX Carolina 21

Parents upset at new plan for STEM middle school

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Parents at one Upstate school are upset because they said their children won't have a chance to finish their specialized curriculum past the fifth grade if plans for a new middle school push forward as they are.

The new school is Dr. Phinnize Fisher Middle School. It will have an engineering curriculum and is set to open next year.

The problem, students who attend the A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School aren't necessarily guaranteed a spot there, and parents are furious, saying that doesn't make sense.

"My first reaction was, oh my goodness! Why aren't the A.J. Whittenburg engineers and students going to be zoned for the school and continue their stem pipeline of learning?" said Jamie Howard, a parent.

The new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) middle school is being built across from Hubble Lighting. It will offer overcrowding relief to nearby schools and an exceptional curriculum.

But some parents said the students who are already in the STEM program at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary won't get priority enrollment because the school is zoned for a different area.

"Our children who have been in this STEM curriculum for four or five years are not even thought about when it comes to being a feeder school," said Jerry Blassingame, PTA president.

A representative from the school district said there will be 40 slots at the new middle school for students like the ones at A.J. Whittenberg who don't live in the school zone but want to attend the Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School. Those slots will be filled by a proposed lottery drawing.

There will be a public meeting June 3 at 6 p.m. at J.L. Mann High School.

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