Education

Fort Mill schools propose attendance area changes. Here’s who is impacted.

Some Fort Mill students will be attending a different school next year.

The Fort Mill school district is considering new elementary attendance areas for 2020-’21 and new middle school attendance areas in 2021-’22.

District leaders are seeking feedback on new attendance areas from elementary and middle school parents before bringing a recommendation to the school board on Oct. 22. A survey was sent to parents Wednesday and closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 17.

Fort Mill continues to see rapid growth, adding about 1,000 new students every year, according to the district. The district currently serves close to 17,000 students.

Already approved within the Fort Mill school district are more than 3,800 single-family homes, more than 1,300 multi-family units and more than 1,160 townhomes, according to the district. Not all the projects have begun construction.

“We have employed many strategies to manage this growth, such as adding new teachers where space provides and utilizing enrollment freezes to retain desired teacher student ratios,” reads a statement from the district. “The district works very hard to create long term plans that will not require repeated changes to the attendance areas.”

Several Fort Mill elementary and middle schools are under an enrollment freeze.

The freezes were announced in 2018 and impact new students who enroll in the affected attendance areas, The Herald previously reported.

Even with enrollment freezes, Fort Mill schools will soon exceed their capacity without the opening of new schools, according to the district.

Fort Mill will open two new elementary schools in 2020-’21 and a new middle school in 2021-’22.

Kings Town Elementary is off Masons Bend Drive and River Trail Elementary is on the parkway south of Catawba Ridge High School’s campus, according to the district. Forest Creek Middle School will be on Whites Road across from the Catawba Ridge bus entrance.

The district is working with an outside consultant to determine potential attendance area changes due to the new schools. Keeping neighborhoods intact, residential growth, natural boundaries and traffic flows are all considerations as they create attendance areas, according to the district.

Under the proposed attendance area changes, students from parts of the current Riverview, Orchard Park and Gold Hill Elementary School areas will attend Kings Town Elementary School, according to the district. River Trail Elementary will pull from the current Doby’s Bridge attendance area under the proposed plan.

“We tried to have as little wide spread impact as possible, with very minor changes to other attendance areas,” reads a statement from the district.

Forest Creek Middle School’s proposed attendance area will split the current Banks Trail Middle attendance area, shift a small section of Gold Hill Middle’s to Pleasant Knoll Middle and add to Banks Trail Middle’s attendance area from Pleasant Knoll, according to the district.

The Fort Mill school board plans to approve new attendance areas at their Nov. 5 meeting.

Mascots for the new schools were chosen earlier this year. Kings Town Elementary will be home to the Knights while River Trail Elementary students will root for the Otters.

Forest Creek Middle School’s mascot is the Coyotes, paying homage to the area’s population, The Herald previously reported.

The elementary schools’ principals also were chosen earlier this year. Peter Ollinger is leaving Springfield Elementary School to lead River Trail Elementary School. Jocelyn Young, who will leave Fort Mill Elementary School, was named principal of Kings Town Elementary.

The three new schools are funded through a $190 million bond referendum voters approved in 2018.

For more information, visit the Fort Mill school district’s website.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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