Lexington-Richland school freezes enrollment to address overcrowding

Lexington-Richland school freezes enrollment to address overcrowding

CHAPIN, SC (WIS) - Lexington-Richland School District 5 is putting an enrollment freeze on another elementary school in the district.

That means any new families who move into the attendance zones for Chapin Elementary and Lake Murray Elementary after January 22, next Tuesday, will be reassigned to a different school.

According to the district, this is phase II of the plan, which comes after the freeze they placed on Lake Murray Elementary in 2018.

While Juli Booth, a Chapin resident doesn’t have a child of her own that attends Chapin Elementary, she said the districts ‘enrollment freeze’ affects more than just parents and students.

“They’re either going to have to be bussed or parents are going to have to take them. So that’s going to affect property values, that’s going to affect whether people move here or not. They’re going to probably rethink if they’re going to move to Chapin in the near future,” Booth said. “To tell someone that is potentially going to buy your house that that’s what they’re going to have to do, that’s going to affect the price of the house, the time on the market, it’s bad for our economy.”

In January of 2018, the district placed a freeze at Lake Murray Elementary School, forcing students to attend Ballentine Elementary or Chapin elementary.

From there, the district saw an increase in enrollment at Chapin Elementary, which launched phase II, putting an enrollment freeze at Chapin Elementary.

Dr. Michael Harris, Chief Planning and Administrative Officer said, “It is a temporary fix to address the surge of enrollment, the increase of enrollment as we work our way towards the implication or the erection of a new elementary school in the Chapin area.”

Some Chapin parents tell WIS the freeze is the ‘best’ solution until the new elementary school is built.

Courtney Davis, a Chapin Elementary parent said, “Class sizes various things I am in support of the freeze here, I know there has been some inconveniences to other people in the area for that reason but for the options available I think this is the right decision.”

Others in the area think this decision will be a domino effect.

“If Ballentine elementary which is one of the target schools for the overflow becomes overcrowded then they’re going to have to move them further down,” Booth said.

The question becomes why not look at changing rezoning lines?

“We are building and moving forward with a new elementary school and that means when this new school comes aboard there's a new attendance line that naturally has to be drawn,” Harris said.

So instead of potentially moving students twice, “We are looking forward to utilizing scenarios and situations like an enrollment freeze that is a stop gap. Again a temporary solution, a temporary fix to a long term anticipation of a new elementary school,” Harris said.

The new Phase II freeze does not include families who currently reside in the Chapin Elementary School and Lake Murray Elementary School attendance area and/or those who have a valid contract of purchase document, lease agreement or rental agreement dated prior to January 22, 2019.

All students and families moving into areas impacted by the freeze will have the option of selecting a school for reassignment:

  • Ballentine Elementary School
  • Dutch Fork Elementary School (Academy of Environmental Sciences)
  • River Springs Elementary School
  • Or any of the district’s magnet schools or schools of choice (application required)

More information on School District Five’s Enrollment Freezes for Chapin Elementary and Lake Murray Elementary School can be found online at www.lexrich5.org. For more information on School District Five magnet programs or school of choice offerings, visit www.lexrich5.org/choice.

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