It's a 'growing' problem for Fort Mill Schools

- A booming population is potentially squeezing students out of their respective elementary schools in Fort Mill, SC. App users click here.

"We've reached capacity at two of our nine elementary schools in student enrollment," said Fort Mill Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Epps.

There are roughly 7,000 students enrolled in the district. Two schools, Doby's Bridge Elementary and Gold Hill Elementary, are already facing enrollment freezes.

"If we were to leave the kids in the schools at capacity and overrun the capacity, we would have to increase teacher to pupil ratios," said Dr .Epps.  "But this allows us to maintain favorable teacher to pupil ratios."

If students assigned to Doby's Bridge haven't completed the enrollment and registration process by September 15, they won't be attending classes there.  The same goes for those assigned to Gold Hill Elementary.  If they aren't registered and enrolled by September 1, they'll be attending Tega Cay Elementary beginning September 5.

"We've had so much growth in the area-- which is good," said Gold Hill Parent Allen Spain.  "But it's grown so fast that the schools haven't been able to keep up."

"It's pretty extreme," said Gold Hill Parent Thomas Ritter.  "There are houses built all the time and new people-- the roads are crowded."

Many parents we spoke to say they moved to Fort Mill specifically for their children's education.

"We actually moved here for the school district," said Spain.

"We were moving to the Charlotte area, and we moved to Fort Mill because we knew they had some of the best schools in country and state," said Ritter.  "So we decided to come here."

The school district has been battling a boom in students since the mid-1990s.

"It's a great area," said Spain.  "And more people bring more ideas-- but I think they need to slow down and give time for the schools to catch up and the roads to catch up."

The school board began discussion this week on strategies to address the rise in enrollment.

"At some point in the next three years, we will be at capacity at the elementary level," said Dr. Epps.  "So the school board will have to decide whether to go out for a bond and build more schools or purchase classroom trailers and put them on current campuses."

The district will look at teacher to student ratio, travel distance and population to determine what school students should attend.

Just to clarify, if you're currently a resident prior to the deadline-- you're assured a spot in your home assigned school.

You can learn more details by clicking here.

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