Fort Mill Schools warn of consequences with increased residential growth

Posted April 7, 2014 11:00 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

bill_shanahanAndrew Kiel |
It is no secret why residential growth in Fort Mill is once again growing exponentially: between great schools, easy access to Charlotte and a small-town atmosphere, the seven mile stretch between Rock Hill and the state line is quckly expanding — so much that school leaders are trying to put the brakes on residential growth.

Until more commercial growth arrives, that is.

Fort Mill School Board chairman Patrick White and district superintendent Chuck Epps addressed York County Council on the issue Monday night. White unveiled a formula that extrapolates student growth, the assessed millage rate and the cost of new schools to assign a dollar figure to space needs in the next ten to twenty years.

“There is a new awareness,” White said. “I don’t think that they realized the difference between tax revenues that are generated by new homes and what it’s going to cost to support those kids in the schools.

The projected cost, without inflation of building an elementary school comes in at $29.3 million; a middle school, $34.4 millio; and a high school, $106.7 million.

Under the projection of 10,000 new homes coming to Fort Mill over the next decade, that would leave the district with approximately 6,510 new students — students that would require a total of $281.7 million in additional instructional space across all grade levels.

In tax revenues, with an average home price of $250,000 and $270 worth of personal property tax per home, the district would receive $137.4 million in new tax revenue over a ten-year period. Add the figures up — and it leaves the district with a $144.3 million defecit in new construction.

“There are so many developments that are already platted and designed,” White said. “We’re seeing a lot more growth this year than we did last year.”

Addressing council, White said he would like to see developers integrate commercial space into new developments within the Fort Mill Township. The commercial space would not contribute to the amount of children in schools — but under business property taxes — would contribute significantly more to the district’s bottom line.