It’s never popular to realign attendance zones for any school district, but leaders in Fort Mill say that’s currently a necessity with an upcoming sprout of unprecedented growth in the area.
Tuesday night, district leaders unveiled their latest plan to realign attendance zones across Fort Mill District 4. The plan only touches the district’s seven — soon to be nine — elementary schools and roughly 30 percent of the current 5,419 students.
Superintendent Chuck Epps said that recent discussions with Fort Mill, Tega Cay and York County planners show an estimated 10,000 new homes coming to 32 developments in the next few years, and he’s trying to stay ahead of the curve.
“We do not know when [the schools] are going to fill up,” Epps said. “But at least this gives us a blueprint to plan by. And that’s all we can do.”
By land mass, Fort Mill District 4 is the smallest district in South Carolina, but it’s one of the fastest growing parts of the Palmetto State. Next year, Tega Cay and Doby’s Bridge Elementary Schools will come online, and Epps says to expect a tenth school soon.
“Our projection show we’ll need elementary #10 by the end of the decade,” Epps said. “If the economy continues to accelerate as fast as it is now…we will have to go through that same process of reassigning students.”
Tuesday’s listing of attendance zones is not final, but will be presented before the school board later this month, with a vote coming as soon as November 5.
If the plan stays on track, Epps hopes to have parents officially notified of new elementary attendance zones by December. Faculty and staff will receive re-assignments, if necessary, by January.
“We will shift teachers where the kids are,” Epps said. “The two new schools will not have all new teachers; we’ll be shifting teachers to follow the students.”