'Shifting' attendance lines could ease overcrowding in Horry Co. schools

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Attendance lines could be getting a slight shift in Horry County Schools, as district leaders mull over ideas to help ease overcrowding issues felt in several area schools.

The potential move by Horry County Schools has been the subject of a series of meetings between district officials, the last of those meetings scheduled for Tuesday.

Dr. Cindy Elsberry, superintendent for Horry County Schools, says if the proposed re-drawing of attendance lines gains momentum, it would only affect a handful of schools and students.

The superintendent says the proposal could impact students who currently live in southern Conway and attend Carolina Forest-area schools. District officials say they are toying with the idea of having students who live on the Conway-side of the Waccamaw River integrated into Conway-area schools.

The move, according to Elsberry, would help free up space in Carolina Forest schools, which are feeling some of the worst growing pains in the county.

District officials say an additional option of re-structuring the feeding system in Carolina Forest isn't out of the picture. That would involve re-working which elementary school sends students to Black Water Middle School and Ocean Bay Middle School.

The idea of re-drawing attendance lines comes as the district continues construction on a new addition to Carolina Forest Elementary School and prepares construction for a new school near Berkshire Forest. Elsberry says instead of beginning more construction projects and additions to current buildings, students will be shifted to under-utilized schools to ease the growing pains.

At the start of the 2010-2011 school year, district officials announced more than 560 students had been added to the school system. The growth spurt came as what some leaders described as a 'shock,' following two consecutive years of stalled growth.

Elsberry says the re-drawing of attendance lines will help prepare the district for future growth over the next two to five years. She says district projections predict more than 700 students will enroll in Horry County schools next school year.

A plan for the re-drawing of lines still needs to be drafted, Elsberry noted Tuesday, in addition to being agreed upon by the Horry County School Board.

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