Horry Co. Schools increasing class sizes

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Concerns are mounting following Monday's debut of the Horry County School District's budget proposal for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year.

With state cuts equaling nearly $11 million and local funding being reduced by nearly $4 million, school administrators are now searching for ways to do more with less.

"We really don't anticipate that people will lose their jobs," explained Horry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Cindy Elsberry. "Our goal is through our natural attrition, through retirements and transfers, to be able to fit people in existing positions."

Elsberry says officials are currently trying to figure out how to maintain day-to-day operations of the school district while trimming overhead costs. And one measure that seems to be receiving support, is increasing classroom sizes by one student at the middle and high school levels. Elsberry is confident these changes will not affect the quality of education the students receive.

"As we cut the budget we tried to ensure that we would be able to provide a strong powerful curriculum for our students," said Elsberry. "That's what the tax payers expect of us, to think about the education we're providing and to ensure parents that we can fulfill the guarantees that we've given them to educate their children."

By increasing classes by one student in grades 6-12, the school administrators believe they will make better use of the staff and classroom space they already have in place.

Leon Hayes, the principal of South Conway Elementary, says he's relieved to hear that teacher jobs are not on the line.

"I think anytime you start having to cut employees I think it really hurts morale in a school district," said Hayes. "So I'm thankful that I don't have to deliver any of those messages."

While the budget proposal was made public by Elsberry Monday night, it is only a preliminary report. No budget cuts have yet to be made, pending further discussion on the proposal.

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