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Burke and Allegro Community Meeting

Burke High School | Allegro Partnership

CCSD conducted two community meetings on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The first meeting was held regarding the Burke-Allegro partnership at Burke High School


Meeting PowerPoint (.pdf format)

Community Transcript - Questions and Answers

At the next CCSD board meeting, I would like for the board to address the racial over/under tones in the District 20 community. Specifically, white parents do not want to and will not send their kids to Burke. Period. Blacks are worried that the CCSD will go down the same path as Rivers and James Simons. Bait and switch.

Parents at Allegro currently send their children to a school with a diverse student body. We need to develop a plan to recruit high-school age students on the peninsula.

Why wasn't this meeting advertised on TV and to the Parents of D20 earlier than now?

The community meeting was advertised in all relevant community publications including Post and Courier (3/17, 3/19 3/22), The Chronicle's website, social media, and ad placement (3/22). We also ran free PSAs on the radio stations (iHeart Radio). CCSD also promoted via our website and all social media outlets, along with a traditional press release. Currently, we do not have the advertising dollars to purchase commercial spots.

Is Burke not already going through enough "transition" e.g. [New Tech, New Principal, 4 Academies]? Why are experiments so readily done with children of color before data/experience to see successful models?

These are not experiments. These are sound instructional models led by seasoned school administrators.

As principals of both schools, what would each one like to see what happen and why?

Mr. Neikirk would like to see each school thriving and the number of students attending public schools in downtown Charleston increase. Why? Because he believes in public education and the ability of students to succeed in differentiated instructional programs. Mrs. Swinton would like to see a school where all children that live downtown would be happy to attend.

How can you propose a merger or collaboration without first working out specifics concerning critical issues such as governance, etc?

The success of this partnership will depend on community input from all stakeholders regarding critical issues and standard operating procedures. This is a process and is still being developed.

Y'all set-up a big mess on this campus. If you don't stand up for something you fall for anything. These Allegro parents don't want theirs kids on this campus.

Allegro parents want their children to have a unique educational experience focused on music, and to not lose their small community atmosphere.

Who will control the lease? Why the increase in sq ft? Who would manage the building? How do the parents of Allegro feel about the merger?

CCSD will control the lease. Square Footage is determined by the needs of each program. CCSD will manage the building. Parents at Allegro have similar concerns as the parents at Burke. There are segments of each community that support this partnership.

Is it possible for Allegro to convert to a CCSD countywide magnet school? Would this create a cohesive governing board? Would this create an equal partnership?

No. A magnet program could be created similar to Allegro, and that would look like SOA or Ashley River.

Is Burke the only option for Allegro? If not Burke, then where?

No. Archer Campus or other commercial real estate options exist.

I am confused as to the extent of this partnership. Is this sharing of curriculum, of courses, or just space? I've heard that Allegro will stay Allegro and Burke will stay Burke. How can we be assured that this will remain this way if this partnership will occur? What processes are in place to ensure that burke's culture is preserved?

A sharing of space and courses. The MOU will specify how the two schools will remain separate. The Burke school leadership is committed to preserving Burke's culture.

Burke and Simmons-Pinckney is one campus. Will the middle school students from Allegro use the classrooms in Simmons-Pinckney or Burke? If no, why? Where will nursing services be for the Allegro students?

Use of facilities is still being decided. Allegro middle and high school students share courses and are not separated. Nursing services would be in the existing clinics.

How will issues of governance be handled given that Allegro, a charter school, and Burke, a public school, do not have the same governance structure?

The MOU will specify.

How long this plan been in effect and who came up with this plan? Why Burke always in the conversation with partnership with other groups?

There is no plan in effect yet, discussions about a potential partnership began in August 2016

In what ways could a joint school concept (like the one we are talking about) harm communities, education of our kids, or detract from any programs?

Communication is the key to a successful partnership. Making sure that all stakeholders are operating for the same purpose and under the same rules will limit any harm.

Collaboration and partnership, does this include separation of students from the two schools on campus in any way or will children be sharing the same space?

At times, students will be sharing the same space. At other times, they will be in designated spaces.

At the meeting on Monday, prospective parents were adamant that they don't way their children to attend Burke High School. Saying black kids at Burke don't way to learn. What is the next step and who is on the committee?

Parents at Allegro shared concerns over how a partnership would look, and if Allegro would continue to maintain it's small size and unique focus. There were no concerns over diversity. The next step is to answer questions and to develop an MOU. The committee consists of: Allegro Principal, Simmons-Pickney Principal, Burke Executive Principal, Burke Associate Principal, Executive Director of Secondary Learning, Burke Band Director, Burke Director of Transition, Burke Acting Principal.

Are we considering all students on both of the campuses coming together?

Is August 2017 set in stone?

Not happening.

Is there an example in this district that has history and is working? Simmons-Pinckney on campus now with Sanders-Clyde being added in 2017/2018? Does faculty sharing mean job loss? Is this a long term or short term plan? I am still not clear on how this plan makes the feeder schools better. You mentioned the financial constraints of D20. Some of the wealthiest residents of Charleston County live here. why is Burke not receiving more funding?

At this time there is no example in CCSD. Faculty sharing does not mean job loss. This is a long-term plan. Plan for D20/Burke Education Center uses vertical articulation to increase focus and performance of feeder schools. Currently Burke is receiving the highest per-pupil funding in the district.

Per student expenditures in 2016- Burke: $20,241; Lincoln: $26,020; Allegro: $8,166. Can Burke continue at $20,000 a student?

Yes, Burke may continue as long as the Charleston County School Board approves the funding.

How will the enrollment at Burke be able to grow when parents can apply to Allegro, even if they on the peninsula?

Allegro has a limit to how many students it may enroll, and pulls from the the entire county.

How will shared space be handled library cafeteria?

Allegro has a limit to how many students it may enroll, and pull from the the entire county.

How will two schools separate the school funding. If you have two separat schools and if the funding is based on enrollment, how will it help Burke?

The MOU will specify.

The middle school was separated from the high school, but with Allegro coming on campus that means a middle school will be back with the high school or will the middle school be with Simmons Pinckney?

Simmons-Pickney students currently take courses at Burke.

How does the partnership increase enrollment if the schools are considered separate? Is this partnership similar to the "partnership" Burke and Academic Magnet had in years past?

The total student enrollment on campus will increase. Also, the increase of enrollment will encourage prospective parents to consider Burke as a viable option for their children. This partnership is not similar to the Academic Magnet partnership.

Where are all the kids going to go? With new tech needing space for next year; not a full-school roll-out

Facilities spaces have not yet been determined.

Does Burke offer cyber-security?


Why do classes need to be shared? By sharing, I feel Allegro is no longer itself and I chose a smaller Allegro for my child, not a large combined.

Allegro course and school size will still be limited to their small size. Course sharing opens up more options for families that choose to make use of them.

Keeping in mind previous history- Academic Magnet and Burke; How much time and thought would be given to total inclusion before adopting this plan?

Approximately 2 years.

How can you ask us to blindly sign on to this potential partnership without providing some concrete example(s) of possible daily school operations?

Over the next year, we plan to create standard operating procedures, policies and procedures.

Is 5 months enough time to work through the logistical challenges of merging 2 distinct schools? "lots of uncertainties" If Allegro occupies a CCSD building, what assurance can be offered that Allegro's "independent identity" will not eventually be compromised or eroded?

That 5 months would be the minimum amount of time necessary to create a partnership between these schools. The MOU will include assurances for both schools.

The comment was made by Dr. Swinton that sharing of expenses was most important. What does that say about the children being the first priority? Is it profit over people? Children don't understand partnership, they understand friendships. How can we ensure this?

Mrs. Swinton said that would be one of the benefits, not the main or only benefit. She believes that Children always come first.

How do courses in advanced strings and music theory address what Burke students need?

Research shows academic achievement is enhanced by fine arts integration and opportunities for students to partake in fine arts courses.

Are you absolutely sure on this day that CCSD and Allegro have not reached an agreement? Are you sure that inspite of the Allegro Charter Program, the school remains Burke High School with no added name, and Burke will be Burke High School?


What is an example of a ninth-grade schedule if Allegro merges with Burke's curriculum? Give an example of a lesson plan incorporating music with ELA? Math?


How can true integration occur if there are two distinct identities?

This will be a partnership that will promote diversity.

Who is going to be responsible financially for this change? Who will profit financially? Will it be CCSD?

CCSD and Allegro will be financially responsible as defined by the MOU. At this time we do not know who if any entity will financially profit.

What happens if Burke enrollment does not improve and Allegro enrollment improves and need more space?

Allegro's enrollment is capped at 350 students per their charter.

Will you compile all of the questions/concerns at the close of the negotiations and a decision is made, and thus, answer each question?


While I like the idea, how long will it be until more details about the logistics and details are available to parents/community members? Are y'all sure this is a good idea?

Good Idea

Mrs. Swinton said more choices in course offering address the needs of Burke students. Can you elaborate on how choice truly and genuinely meets Burke student needs?
Choice equals opportunity and advancement.

Explain Burke's relationship with Lowcountry Tech; does this still exist? How many Burke classes/offices had to be moved? Earlier, Burke High was referred to as Burke Education Center; is this possibly a new name for Burke?

There is a lot of talk about planning needed before future steps are made. Who would be included in the conversations and who would make the final decisions?

Lowcountry Tech was moved to the Burke campus per the CCSD board. Lowcountry Tech exists within the CTE department and is one of the four academies. Approximately 5 classrooms were repurposed for LTA and one office administration. 

How many Burke students can actually be slotted into Allegro? What about Allegro students into other academies?

Up to 10% of the Allegro high school student population. Students would have to meet prerequisites for the course and seat availability.

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