Horry Co. School Board talks bigger class sizes and modular classrooms

Horry County, SC (WMBF) - No decision was made, but several people turned out to the Horry County School Board meeting Monday night to hear discussions surrounding classroom sizes.

A proposal would have added 1 to 2 more children to classrooms in Horry County. The expansion could have saved the district some $3 million dollars, but it would have also cut 41 teaching positions.

However, finance committee members recommended to the board that this not be the option they choose, and many board members seemed to voice this same opinion Monday night saying they don't support any plan to expand class sizes.

The talks began when personal learning devices like iPads were brought into area classrooms, and the district needed to find a way to fund the initiative.

This is just one example of where shifts in school funds are being made to keep up with a growing student population, something other departments have noticed as well.

"I think it's just a realization that we have been cutting and cutting, and it's now time to take a full look at what our costs are and come up with a plan so we can appropriately budget and repair things as they need to be," Board member Neil James said. "We've gotten behind on our maintenance issues and it's beginning to show."

The facilities committee took on several issues Monday night, regarding money for sustainability, building updates, new buses, and maintenance equipment. Many of those items required more dollars than already accounted for in those areas.

"Health and safety is our number one priority so anything relating to those topics will of course come to the top of the list," James said. "Other things like painting and carpeting or just building enhancements may not."

The full school board also made a decision on modular units to handle adult education services during the construction of one of Horry County's new schools.

Ten modular classrooms were approved for the current Myrtle Beach Family Learning Center, costing the district around $1 million.

They will handle the adult classes until another location is found so demolition can begin on that facility and construction on the new Myrtle Beach Middle School can start as well.

Meanwhile, some services you or your child may use, like the Boys and Girls Club and Head Start, may have to find other locations on their own.

"So far we have not found a place for them, and if we can find a place or they can find a place we are helping them but our responsibility is just for the Horry County school program," Joe Defeo with the Horry County School Board said.

Board members will meet again at the end of January. That's when a final decision should be made on the proposed class size expansion.

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