Panel to ask Horry school board to move forward with attendance line site committees

vgrooms@thesunnews.comJanuary 22, 2013 

A districtwide panel will ask the Horry County school board to form site committees to examine possible attendance line shifts that could make better use of current facilities, and ease overcrowding in four areas of the school district.

The panel – comprised of school board and community members from each of the school district’s nine attendance areas – has been studying actions the district could take to better use facilities and plan wisely for the future.

Realignment was one of a group of recommendations the Horry County Schools Office of Construction Management made Tuesday to the panel for schools that are overcapacity. The panel decided to move forward and request the site committee work.

The school board is not obligated to adopt any plan that the group eventually might submit.

Site committees would be formed for the Conway, Loris, Carolina Forest and North Myrtle Beach attendance areas to study the suggested shifts that would affect those areas. Those groups would be made up of community members from those areas.

Joe Burch, HCS planning coordinator, said the recommendations are based on the district’s growth forecast for the next 10 years.

He said emphasis was placed on keeping the attendance clusters together and maintaining community integrity, but there will not necessarily be just one fix for more than one area.

Recommendations at the elementary level include:

•  Adding capacity but making no attendance zone adjustments at Midland, Seaside and St. James.

•  Adding capacity and examining the realignment of the split between Conway and Loris for Kingston.

•  Adding capacity and realigning the grade structures for Myrtle Beach Primary, Elementary, Intermediate.

•  Examining a structure shift that creates three K-5 schools that are more evenly filled for North Myrtle Beach Primary, Elementary and Intermediate.

Adding capacity could mean building a new school or making an addition or some type of renovation, said Matt Dean, HCS director of construction management. He said students are not automatically being shifted into some schools that have capacity because support areas that may be needed to take up the extra space are being evaluated.

Burch said Kingston Elementary needs to be examined because there is an area where students are split between schools in the Conway and Loris attendance areas. By moving some students back into the Loris zone from the Conway zone, he said it would help the school’s capacity, but it also would help restore the community integrity in that area.

At the middle school level, recommendations include:

•  Adding capacity but making no attendance zone adjustments for Aynor, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Forestbrook and St. James.

•  At Ocean Bay, adding capacity and examining an attendance line shift to Black Water.

•  At Conway, examining an attendance line shift to Whittemore Park.

Burch said the Conway Middle site is small, and the district has built what it can, so adding capacity there may not be an option. He said the Whittemore Park attendance lines actually jump an area that goes to Conway, which a committee also will have to consider.

Another suggestion was for a site committee to look at eliminating the split in the South Conway area, where half of the students attend Black Water Middle and Carolina Forest High, and the other half go to Whittemore Park and Conway High. Burch said the issue there is more about keeping community integrity for the cluster rather than capacity.

Only one recommendation was made at the high school level, to monitor Myrtle Beach and St. James, and possibly add capacity in the future.

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.

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