Fencing Companyin Summerville, SC

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Privacy Fences: A great privacy fence not only protects your family from the prying eyes of strangers. It can be great for security, too. Available in a variety of materials like vinyl and wood, privacy fences transform spaces like backyards into secluded hideaways. Ask Five Star Fence about decorative options, too, like post caps, coordinating gates, and lattice panel tops.

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Picket Fences: If you want to capture the essence of Americana, a picket fence might be your best choice. One of the most beloved styles of all time, many picket fences come with heavy-duty vinyl and feature extra-wide posts with slimmer top and bottom rails. You can also choose from several stylish wooden picket fences to enhance your home's appearance.

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Chain Link Fences: Chain link fencing is one of the most common, cost-effective ways to keep your property safe. Available in galvanized and aluminized options, you can also select vinyl coated colors like black and green. For extra security, Five Star Fence Company can install barbed wire and even automatic gates if needed.

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Aluminum Fences: Often considered the ultimate combo of beauty, durability, and strength, aluminum fencing enhances your home's curb appeal and protects too. Warranted by the manufacturer for life, aluminum fences at Five Star Fence Company come in many colors and styles. We even have a variety of heights to pick from as well, including special order aluminum fences.

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Wooden Fences: From heavy-duty lattice fences made with pressure-washed pine to traditional estate-style split-rail fencing, wooden fences are affordable and effective. But wood fences do more than fill a need - they add value and style to your home. Fenced-in yards are a hot commodity in today's real estate market and can boost the value of your home if you're looking to sell. In terms of ROI, wood fencing is near the top of the list. At Five Star Fence Company, our design team will work closely with you to install the wooden fence of your dreams.

Frequently Asked Fencing Questions

At Five Star Fence, we do everything in our power to make your fence installation easy, streamlined, and effortless on your end. If you're considering a new fence installation, you probably have some questions about our process. To help address some of your concerns, here are answers to some of the most common questions that come across our desks.

Q. I need a fence installed for my home in Summerville. How long will it take?

A. A typical residential fence takes between two to four days to complete, depending on the size and build of your home. We will do our best to cater to your busy schedule and offer reliable fence installation services Monday-Friday. Should you have specific needs on the day of your fence installation, please let our staff know so that we can do our best to work with you.

Q. Another company told me that they don't use cement to secure posts in the ground. Is that true?

A. Absolutely not. Do not let anyone tell you that you do not need your posts cemented in the ground. At Five Star Fence, every post we plant is cemented into the ground, no questions asked. Depending on the type of fence that we're installing for you, your posts will be about 24-48 inches in the ground to ensure stability and durability.

Quality Workmanship. Unmatched Fence
Installation in Summerville, SC

Whether you need a new, beautiful wood fence to enhance curb appeal or an aluminum fence to help secure your residential property, Five Star Fence Company is here to help. After 28 years in the business, we have the knowledge and the experience to get the job done right. We pledge to provide you with honest work and the best fencing services in the Lowcountry. Contact our office today to get started on your free quote. Before you know it, your property will be a safer, more enjoyable place to spend time all year long.

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Latest News in Summerville, SC

‘Once in a lifetime find,’ Boy finds massive, extinct shark tooth on SC vacation. Check it out

Riley Gracely and his family were looking around the piles of dirt and gravel at Palmetto Fossil Excursions in Summerville when he saw something that looked like a tooth.The 8-year-old Lebanon, Pennsylvania, boy started digging in the soil, clay and gravel and pulled out a huge fossilized tooth from the long-extinct angustiden shark species, that was 22 million to 28 million years old.“He got lucky,” Riley’s dad Justin Gracely said in a phone call Monday.Sky Basak, who owns ...

Riley Gracely and his family were looking around the piles of dirt and gravel at Palmetto Fossil Excursions in Summerville when he saw something that looked like a tooth.

The 8-year-old Lebanon, Pennsylvania, boy started digging in the soil, clay and gravel and pulled out a huge fossilized tooth from the long-extinct angustiden shark species, that was 22 million to 28 million years old.

“He got lucky,” Riley’s dad Justin Gracely said in a phone call Monday.

Sky Basak, who owns Palmetto Fossil with her husband Josh, called it a “once in a lifetime find.”

The tooth measured 4.75 inches — about the size of Riley’s hand.

The Gracely family was on their annual vacation to Myrtle Beach and made the 2.5-hour trip south to Summerville to go to Palmetto Fossil, a 100-acre pit rich with prehistoric material including all manner — and parts — of sea creatures.

South Carolina has many such locations, buried deep in the earth along the coastal plain, where ocean and rivers ebbed and flowed for millions of years.

Gracely, 40, said he has been visiting Myrtle Beach since he was 5 and he and his mother, a microbiologist, scoured the sand for shark’s teeth.

Two years ago, when Palmetto had just opened, Gracely saw something on Instagram about it and made the trek. This summer was their third visit.

Last year, older son Collin, 10, found a 4-inch megalodon tooth, a species that came after the angustiden and the largest fish that ever lived, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. The largest ones were three times the size of the biggest sharks that exist today.

The Gracelys were searching in an area where trucks were dumping material from property where the landowner was building a lake.

Basak said she hunts for specimens every day, 12 hours a day, and she and her husband have found a treasure trove in the new material. They intend to donate all of it to the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston, where they often go to just sit and look at the whales and dinosaurs on display.

“Simply speaking, this is some of the richest fossil layer we have ever seen. The colors on the fossils are also amazing, which is caused by the sediment in which they fossilized,” according to Palmetto Fossil’s Facebook page.

They have found a walrus, parts of baleen whales, beluga whales, giant speartooth dolphin, all millions and millions of years old.

Basak and her husband started the business in 2020 as a “cool part time gig,” she said. Within four months it was much more than that. They were hiring staff and now have 11 employees during the summer.

Basak said interest was immediate.

“It’s a cool feeling knowing you’ve got something that old,” she said.

They are leasing the land on Sand Hill Road in Dorchester and are looking for a place to settle with enough ancient deposits to carry them through two or three generations..

Their goal is to start a research facility to better understand South Carolina’s rich geologic history.

Riley Gracely, meanwhile, is keeping his find in a glass display box. He’s shown it to all his friends.

Someone mentioned to his dad that perhaps they would want to donate it for research or display.

“I think we’ll let the little guy keep it for a while,” Justin Gracely said.

This story was originally published August 23, 2022 5:00 AM.

Summerville nonprofit hires key executive

The Summerville Orchestra has announced that DeAnndra Glenn is the inaugural director and education coordinator for the new Summerville Orchestra Youth Philharmonic and education program.Glenn has taught strings students of all ages in the Charleston area since 2005 and has performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the North Charleston POPS! and with Mannheim Steamroller, Michael Bublé and Michael W. Smith among many o...

The Summerville Orchestra has announced that DeAnndra Glenn is the inaugural director and education coordinator for the new Summerville Orchestra Youth Philharmonic and education program.

Glenn has taught strings students of all ages in the Charleston area since 2005 and has performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the North Charleston POPS! and with Mannheim Steamroller, Michael Bublé and Michael W. Smith among many others, according to a news release from the orchestra.

She was conductor of the Charleston County School District Honors Orchestra from 2005 to 2010, and served for seven years as a strings instructor for both the Charleston County School district summer SMAART (Students Mastering the Academic Arts) program and the West Ashley middle and high schools, the release stated.

Glenn founded Charleston Violin Studio, and many of her violin and viola students have gained admission to the Charleston County School District School of the Arts, Rollings School of the Arts, the Lowcountry Region and South Carolina All-State Orchestras and the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra, according to the release.

“When I was a student, each new orchestra I joined was a stepping stone to the next level. At first, I would struggle to keep up,” Glenn said in the release. “But with practice and determination, my playing advanced. The orchestra pushed me to become a better musician because I had to learn to stay with the group.”

Glenn stepped away from conducting and teaching when her twins — a boy and a girl — were born and is thrilled now to be in a position to reengage, the release stated.

“I love conducting and leading orchestra rehearsals. The Summerville Orchestra Youth Philharmonic will be a wonderful opportunity for students to make new friends while at the same time developing their musicality,” she said. “Playing in an ensemble teaches students to work as a team and also helps them form other life skills. Plus, involvement in extracurriculars also looks impressive on a college application.”

Glenn and S.O. staff will work with area school music instructors to identify and audition students for participation. Auditions will be held on Monday, Sept. 19, 6-7 p.m., at Alston Middle School, 500 Bryan St., Summerville. More informatoin is available here.

The S.O. Youth Philharmonic is being made possible through a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. The mission of the Youth Philharmonic program is to provide an affordable youth orchestra experience to public, private and charter school students as well as home-schooled students in the tri-county. The Youth Philharmonic is scheduled to perform three concerts this year.

Dutch Fork, South Pointe and Daniel among top teams in Week 4 SC Prep Football Media Poll

This week, not much changed. The media voted again to see who the top 10 teams in each of the five SCHSL classifications are and largely, at least in the No. 1 spots, it remained the same from a week ago.Hillcrest received one first-place vote in Class AAAAA, Spart...

This week, not much changed. The media voted again to see who the top 10 teams in each of the five SCHSL classifications are and largely, at least in the No. 1 spots, it remained the same from a week ago.

Hillcrest received one first-place vote in Class AAAAA, Spartanburg dropped out of the Top 10 in AAAAA surprisingly. And other teams shifted from last week's poll. In parentheses is the amount of No. 1 votes a team received. If a team moved in to a ranking, up or down, it is noted below. Teams that are ranked the same as last week will not have anything next to their name.

Class AAAAA

1. Dutch Fork (19)

2. Byrnes

3. Hillcrest (1)

4. Dorman

5. Sumter (Last week: 6th)

6. Summerville (Last week: 8th)

7. River Bluff (Last week: 10th)

8. Fort Dorchester (Last week: 5th)

9. White Knoll (Last week: NR, receiving votes)

10. Lexington (Last week: NR, receiving votes)

Others receiving votes: Spartanburg, TL Hanna, Gaffney West Ashley, Clover JL Mann, Chapin

Game story: How four-star Mazeo Bennett, defense and QB play helped Greenville football soar past Mauldin

Class AAAA

1. South Pointe (17)

2. Northwestern (3)

3. AC Flora

4. South Florence

5. West Florence

6. Catawba Ridge (Last week: 7th)

7. Indian Land (Last week: 9th)

8. Hartsville (Last week: 6th)

9. James Island (Last week: 8th)

10. Ridge View

Others receiving votes: Westside, Irmo, Lancaster, Wilson, Greenville, York, Myrtle Beach

Class AAA

1. Daniel (19)

2. Dillon (1)

3. Powdersville

4. Clinton (Last week: 5th)

5. Gilbert (Last week: 6th)

6. Beaufort (Last week: 8th)

7. Camden (Last week: 4th)

8. Hanahan (Last week: 9th)

9. Belton-Honea Path (Last week: 10th)

10. Seneca (Last week: 7th)

Others receiving votes: Loris, Philip Simmons, Chester, Union County, Aynor, Manning, Marlboro County, Emerald, Woodruff

Class AA

1. Saluda (15)

2. Oceanside Collegiate (2, Last week: 4th)

3. Barnwell (3)

4. Abbeville (Last week: 2nd, two first-place votes)

5. Wade Hampton (Last week: 6th)

6. Buford (Last week: 7th)

7. Woodland (Last week: 8th)

8. Marion (Last week: 9th)

9. Gray Collegiate (Last week: NR, receiving votes)

10. Fairfield Central (Last week: 5th)

Others receiving votes: Andrews, Pelion, Lake Marion, Strom Thurmond, Academic Magnet, Andrew Jackson, Silver Bluff, Cheraw

Class A

1. St. Joseph’s (15)

2. Bamberg-Ehrhardt (2, Last week: 3rd)

3. Johnsonville (1, Last week: 4th)

4. Whale Branch (Last week: 2nd)

5. Lewisville (1)

6. Christ Church

7. Lake View (1, Last week: 10th)

8. Baptist Hill

9. Southside Christian

10. Lamar (Last week: 7th)

Others receiving votes: Calhoun County, McBee, Latta, Estill, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, Denmark-Olar

DD2 parent says overcrowding, delayed pick ups & drop offs are problematic

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — Dorchester School District Two is facing a bus driver shortage. The district needs to hire 12 more drivers.To get students to school on time, the district will start middle and high school classes 20 minutes late starting on Monday.But, the bus driver shortage is being noticed by parents.Daniel Green has three kids at DD2. He said he is worried about safety on the bus."Some of the concerns would be the overcrowding. We are told that middle and high school kids are being forced...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — Dorchester School District Two is facing a bus driver shortage. The district needs to hire 12 more drivers.

To get students to school on time, the district will start middle and high school classes 20 minutes late starting on Monday.

But, the bus driver shortage is being noticed by parents.

Daniel Green has three kids at DD2. He said he is worried about safety on the bus.

"Some of the concerns would be the overcrowding. We are told that middle and high school kids are being forced to sit 4 per seat. Sitting on top of each other, and other kids are left sitting or standings in the aisles," said Daniel Green, DD2 parent.

Green worries the bus driver won't be able to see if there is a problem.

"As loud as it gets on the buses and that many kids in the back, I figure it is only a matter of time before a fight breaks out. Or some assault or harassment," said Green.

Overcrowding is not Green's only concern.

"Yesterday, my middle schooler got dropped off almost an hour late and at the wrong bus stop. They got off almost a mile from home and had to walk," said Green.

We took Green's concerns to the state department of education.

Mike Bullman, the Director of Transportation, said there is a 15 percent bus driver shortage across the state.

But, he said there should never be overcrowding.

"The maximum capacity of the bus is factored by 3 to seat usually with elementary students. Never 4 per seat," said Mike Bullman, Director of Transportation SC Department of Education.

Bullman said he believes the district is doing the right thing by pushing back start times when it comes to the delay in pick up and drop off. But, he said all students have to be dropped off three tenths of a mile from their homes.

"At the end of the day, these (problems) typically get ironed out. We are doing what we can to ease this driver shortage," said Bullman.

We asked DD2 if they received any reports of 4 kids sitting per seat on the bus but have not yet heard back.

A new library is coming soon to Summerville

Hey Summervillians, have you heard the news? A new 20,000-sqft library is coming soon to Oakbrook, and we can’t wait grab a library card and check it out.The Oakbrook Library at the Ashley River broke ground last week in this fast-growing neighborhood, which has experienced a recent population + business boom.Funding for the project was s...

Hey Summervillians, have you heard the news? A new 20,000-sqft library is coming soon to Oakbrook, and we can’t wait grab a library card and check it out.

The Oakbrook Library at the Ashley River broke ground last week in this fast-growing neighborhood, which has experienced a recent population + business boom.

Funding for the project was supported by a 2019 bond referendum voted for by citizens. The county considers this project to be an investment in the community. Look forward to both traditional and modern library services at the new digs.

SeamonWhiteside, a site design firm with offices in Mt. Pleasant and Summerville, joined the project team and will be completing the land planning, civil engineering, and landscape architecture for the library. The firm will work closely with architecture and design firm McMillan Pazdan Smith. Also on the team are RMF Engineering, ADC Engineering, and HITT Contracting.The library is not the only thing Dorchester County has to celebrate. Ashley River Park recently opened on the banks of the Ashley River off of Bacon’s Bridge Road. This 80+ acre park features dog parks, playground and picnic areas, and a walking trail for community members to enjoy. Here’s the cool part: The park is located across the street from the upcoming library.

Oakbrook Library is expected to be completed late next year, so mark your calendars and book it to 2830 Bacons Bridge Rd. when it opens. In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for updates.

Dorchester District 2 works on hiring, keeping bus drivers

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester District 2 leaders say they are still short 12 bus drivers but have 20 applicants in the pipeline as of Monday.This bus driver shortage has caused many students to be late to school and even led to a new bell schedule for middle and high schools.District Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins says with many drivers in the pipeline and a new bell schedule, this shortage will hopefully get resolved.“The shift in the bell schedules really is a reversion back to what we used last year,&r...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester District 2 leaders say they are still short 12 bus drivers but have 20 applicants in the pipeline as of Monday.

This bus driver shortage has caused many students to be late to school and even led to a new bell schedule for middle and high schools.

District Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins says with many drivers in the pipeline and a new bell schedule, this shortage will hopefully get resolved.

“The shift in the bell schedules really is a reversion back to what we used last year,” Robbins said. “Really it was designed so that we can maximize instructional time, but it doesn’t reduce the amount of times students have access to lunch or in their classes and that’s the reason why we did that.”

District Transportation Director Steve Shope says people applying to be a bus driver must take an academic class with the district, get a learner’s permit with the DMV, obtain a commercial driver’s license two weeks after that, and take a certification exam by the State Department of Education. He says the entire process takes about a month.

“That have credentials, I think I got four that have credentials that were getting through the class that’s going to finish this Wednesday,” Shope said. “And then we got to put them in the seat for a few hours and we think we can get them running by Monday morning. So, that will definitely help us.”

When asked about an incentive to keep these drivers in the district, Shope says there’s only a promise of a year’s step increase in salary as long as they drive the required number of days.

Dr. Kenneth Wilson, who is the district office’s assistant superintendent, says there were 13 additional drivers out for illness or other reasons on top of the 12 drivers short on Monday. He says he wants the parents to know the district is listening.

“We’ve heard everything that you’ve said, and we are definitely working on that,” Wilson said. So, we do want to thank you for your cooperation and your flexibility as we work through this process.”

One board member said parents should contact bustransportation@dorchester2.k12.sc.us if any bus transportation issues arise.

Aside from the transportation update, the district will be making 30 minutes of unencumbered time required for elementary school teachers next year on Oct. 1. This will cause the district to hire supervisors to watch the students during this time. Paying their salaries will cost the district about $548,100.

District leaders also say they are not in favor of mandating lockers for middle and high school students. They say they’ve realized a lot of textbooks have gone online and they’ve seen an overall decrease in the students using lockers too. They also say they want less access for storing any potential contraband in the schools.

For more information on the Sept. 12 meeting, visit the district’s website.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Dorchester Co. breaking ground on new library; part of bigger effort to improve facilities

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — On Thursday, Dorchester County will break ground on a new library in Summerville!The buil...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — On Thursday, Dorchester County will break ground on a new library in Summerville!

The building will serve the Oakbrook area, and officials said it will help upgrade facilities in Dorchester County, which have been in decline.

Officials added that this 20,000-square-foot building will create more opportunities than just provide a place to read books and magazines.

The library is going to have workspaces, a classroom, an event hall, as well as a media center to provide easier access to technology in Summerville. This is part of the reason for the nearly 5,000 extra square footage than some of the other libraries in the county have.

Officials say the focus on this library is to provide extra collaboration opportunities for the community and the schools. The latter is a need Councilman Jay Byars says he’s experienced firsthand.

“I used to teach in the district, and we absolutely need more education space for public libraries. Our library here is over 40 years old. It's, and really, we're [a] very fast-growing area. So, the need is there,” Byars said. “We're building libraries in the future will collaborate with [the] district to, you don't have rows of encyclopedias anymore. There's a lot of opportunity to build a future and we're really excited about that.”

The library cost around $12 million to build and is expected to serve 750 to 1,000 people a day.

But this is just the first piece to solving the puzzle of keeping up with the rapidly growing community in Summerville. The larger piece lies right across the street from the library in Ashley River Park.

Dorchester County officials said once the library is up and running, the plan is to build a bridge under Bacons Bridge Road, the road in between the groundbreaking site and the park, in an attempt to connect the park with the library.

In addition, Dorchester County will purchase 112 acres to expand the park where it currently stands and around the campus of the new library, as well as build a bridge across the Ashley River to create what officials are calling a “super park”.

The goal is to allow for easier access to the fast-growing community’s resources.

“This is a dynamic community. We've got a lot of challenges and opportunities because there's a lot of growth here, and that's exciting to see because you've got a lot of people that they're yearning for these types of things,” Byars said. “We're going to have three brand-new parks, three brand-new libraries, which will fundamentally change Dorchester County forever. And that's exciting to see. Just watching the local people's faces, you can't beat it.”

County officials also said, as part of this expansion, there will be a large increase in walking trails and parking around the Oakbrook community. Parking is an issue that, they said, has been a big problem for residents over the past few years.

The specific library being built on Bacons Bridge Road is funded by a $30 million bond referendum passed in 2019.

The referendum also goes towards two other libraries in the county, one in downtown Summerville, replacing the existing Summerville branch library, and the other in North Charleston near Fort Dorchester High School. Work on that second library broke ground in June.

The groundbreaking for this library in the Oakbrook community will take place at 10 a.m., and officials said they expect it to be up and running by the end of 2023.

Resident makes pitch for pickleball courts at Laurel Street Park

A push on the part of some local residents for additional pickleball courts continued to be a hot-button item at the Town of Summerville’s Sept. 6 Standing Committees meeting that saw Council members listen, but refrain from taking action on a private $100,00 donation for new playing areas at Laurel Street Park.Community member Lawrence Mazalatis publicly addressed the Parks and Recreation Committee regarding his preference for more pickleball courts in Summerville. He justified his request by presenting data indicative of a ris...

A push on the part of some local residents for additional pickleball courts continued to be a hot-button item at the Town of Summerville’s Sept. 6 Standing Committees meeting that saw Council members listen, but refrain from taking action on a private $100,00 donation for new playing areas at Laurel Street Park.

Community member Lawrence Mazalatis publicly addressed the Parks and Recreation Committee regarding his preference for more pickleball courts in Summerville. He justified his request by presenting data indicative of a rising popularity of pickleball over the tennis among individuals who frequent local parks on a regular basis.

“We often play at Doty Park. There are two courts there and in the past five days I’ve taken a morning and evening assessment of how many people [were] playing there,” he began.

Mazalatis reported that over a recent five-day stretch, 79 people played pickleball on Doty Park’s two courts. Conversely, he recounted that only 15 individuals used the park’s six tennis courts in that same period, concluding that demand for public tennis facilities is “very minimal.”

He recounted how he and his pickleball mates are often forced to practically stand in line to utilize their playing areas, while adjacent tennis courts are largely empty.

“So, especially given that there’s an opportunity here for a donation to to repurpose and resurface these courts — which are in terrible condition on [South] Laurel Street — I think the data I’ve collected supports the demand for [pickleball] courts,” stated Mazalatis, who resides a few blocks from the Summerville Municipal Annex Building.

While Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Bob Jackson stated that it wasn’t the right time to comment on the proposed funding and advised to have the subject remain in committee.

Colleague Terry Jenkins, on the other hand, commented that he would be inclined to accept the $100,000 contribution offered by the anonymous donor — but not before communicating with area stakeholders on details of a pickleball court project.

On that note, he highlighted concerns that often result from people engaging in pickleball in residential neighborhoods, such as the volume of noise that emanates from a match.

How early or how late into the evening those courts will open, he added, will be key points of discussion for Town Council insofar as maintaining a modicum of serenity in the surrounding streets of Laurel Street Park.

Parks and Recreation Committee member Aaron Brown was of the same mind in underscoring the importance of “peace” and “tranquility.”

Jenkins went on to mention: “So, so far, I have nothing that will say that we shouldn’t accept a benevolent donation, which other than Saul Alexander some 70, 80 years ago, is the only other donation I ever remember us getting to do something like this.”

The local official, who reported growing up on S. Laurel Street, shared his efforts in gathering opinions from area homeowners between Sumter Avenue and West Carolina Avenue. What’s more, Jenkins explained how he has also driven by the courts in question four or five times a day to gauge the usage of both tennis and pickleball surfaces.

The matter was revisited two nights later at the Town Council’s Sept. 8 meeting that featured insight from architect Eric Epstein, who as a sports enthusiast who plays both tennis and pickleball, maintained that there could be room for both types of courts.

He suggested that there could be vacant land available behind the tennis areas for pickleball courts on South Laurel Street.

The Summerville Journal Scene called Epstein for further comments and/or specifications regarding his ideas, but no immediate response was received as we go to press.

‘They’re never on time’: Dorchester Dist. 2 parents angry about buses as schools slide start times

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester School District Two parents say they were surprised, frustrated and irritated when they learned the district will be pushing back class start times as they deal with a shortage of bus drivers.Starting on Monday, district middle schools will start class at 8:30 a.m., while high schools will start class at 9:30 a.m.While start times have changed, dismissal times have not, and elementary schools are not affected by the changes. However, Mathias Hickman, whose 5-year-old has been late several t...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester School District Two parents say they were surprised, frustrated and irritated when they learned the district will be pushing back class start times as they deal with a shortage of bus drivers.

Starting on Monday, district middle schools will start class at 8:30 a.m., while high schools will start class at 9:30 a.m.

While start times have changed, dismissal times have not, and elementary schools are not affected by the changes. However, Mathias Hickman, whose 5-year-old has been late several times to class this year, said the change won’t help things.

“It won’t affect my daughter at all because they’ll still have the same number of buses in the morning,” Hickman said. “They’ll still have the same time schedule to get them out to school on time.”

The district said the new start times are to combat ongoing bus delays due to a statewide bus driver shortage. Currently, they have 12 bus driver vacancies in their transportation department.

Parents said the buses have been an issue since the school year began.

“It’s horrible; they’re never on time,” high school parent Jacqui Stewart-Sash said. “My daughter is late to school every day. I get phone calls saying she’s missed first period, but it’s because the bus was late, or she was tardy, or she gets caught in the sweep. It’s just not been a great experience, period.”

Some parents said they have had buses come around 40 minutes later than their scheduled pickup times in recent weeks, leaving them and their loved ones scrambling to make sure their children get to school.

“We have to make sure she gets on the bus, things of that nature,” Stewart-Sash said, “so it’s really confusing, and it just messes up everything, and I’m sure I’m not the only parent or family who feels this way.”

The district sent the following statement on its efforts to address the shortage:

While we have increased bus driver pay, increased recruitment efforts, and changed bus route start times, we need to change school start times for middle school and high school to prevent continued loss of instructional time at the start of the school day. Our number one priority continues to be safely transporting students to school and getting them home at a reasonable time.

While parents prepare to adjust to the new start times, they want the district to quickly put the bus driver shortage in the rear-view mirror.

“I just hope they get it together and that they find some good, responsible bus drivers and do what it takes to keep them, not just get them, but keep them, and give them the respect and the money that they deserve,” Stewart-Sash said.

Some parents said they are hopeful the change is only temporary and school start times can go back to normal soon.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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