Florence School District Five passes new out-of-district policy - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence School District Five passes new out-of-district policy

Johnsonville Elementary School is one of three schools affected by a new district policy. (Source: Audrey Biesk) Johnsonville Elementary School is one of three schools affected by a new district policy. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WMBF) - One local school district is trying to get more students for the next school year. 

Florence School District Five just passed a new out-of-district policy to allow more students who live outside of Johnsonville to attend. The board of trustees just passed the new policy in the June meeting.

Florence School District Five Superintendent Randy Smiley was the one behind the new policy, having presented it his board a few months ago.

On Tuesday, he talked about what the new policy means for Johnsonville students and beyond.

Smiley said the district's enrollment over the last eight years has seen a slight decline each year. One reason for that, he said, is because of how rural Johnsonville is.

The school board wants more students from outside city limits to attend their schools, and now those residents do not need to own a piece of land to attend; they just pay the $2,000 tuition fee per student.

“Currently, our numbers are about 1,250 students in the three schools, and the vast majority of those are currently in district," Smiley said. "So since property is difficult to find and that’s parents talking to us saying there’s a major road block, if they can't find or afford the property, but can afford to meet the local effort of taxes that other students get because they are residents, it just gives them that option.”

He added there are currently only around 20 students that live outside of Johnsonville, which is at an all-time low.

Smiley said other rural school districts have the same kind of issue, so allowing students to just pay the tuition and not own real estate. will be helpful. Those who own land will get a $500 rebate.

Another requirement for those who live outside of the Johnsonville district is to ask for a release statement.

“If a child is a student at district X and want to come here, then they have to ask that district to be released," Smiley said. "If the child has property in their name, they are not required to get a release.”

Smiley also gave an update on the storm damage that happened at Johnsonville Middle School two weeks ago. He said the roof has been completely replaced and school will not be delayed for repairs.

School will still start at all three schools on Aug. 15.

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