Education

New Socastee, Carolina Forest middle schools to draw new attendance lines

New attendance lines for Socastee, Carolina Forest

The new Socastee and Carolina Forest middle schools will require Horry County Schools staff to readjust some attendance lines when they open in August 2017.
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The new Socastee and Carolina Forest middle schools will require Horry County Schools staff to readjust some attendance lines when they open in August 2017.

Some Horry County students will be in new attendance areas once the district’s five new schools open in August 2017.

The Horry County Schools facilities committee started new attendance line discussions Monday during their regular meeting. Two of the newest schools will change current attendance lines and the district is hoping to have everything finalized by February, according to Joe Burch, coordinator of planning.

We’re in the process now of determining what those attendance areas will look like, and who will be going to the new schools and who will stay at the existing schools.

Joe Burch, coordinator of planning

The new Socastee and Carolina Forest middle schools will change the district’s attendance lines when they open in August 2017, Burch said. The new Socastee elementary school might change lines, but because it will have more room than some of the other neighboring schools.

The district will develop preliminary attendance areas according to need in early May, and develop a preferred plan later that month.

“We don’t want to have five different plans out to the public, so we’re going to do a lot of the preliminary work internally,” Burch said.

New schools: Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach and Socastee middle schools; St. James intermediate/middle school; and Socastee elementary school

The preferred plans will go to school advisory boards, principals and the district’s executive cabinet before heading to the full Board of Education for approval. Joe DeFeo, board chairman, said he wants the board to put their stamp of approval on the plans before anything is finalized.

“What we learned last time, when the board gets it too late we get all the complaints and then changes are made later, rather than during the process,” DeFeo said.

The public will get a say in the new attendance areas in October, if everything goes to plan. Burch said public input is welcomed, especially from parents of students who are affected by the changes.

Right around September we hope to start putting something on the website and in the schools so we can start getting community input before deciding anything.

Joe Burch, coordinator of planning

First Floor Energy Positive is contracted to build all five schools for a total cost of $240 million, which is $72 million over the original budget. Crews have started work on four of the new sites, and work will begin on the new Socastee middle school once the land is formally purchased.

Contractors project the completion date for the new Myrtle Beach and Socastee middle schools as September 2017, one month later than the original promised opening date. But the school board has to start planning for new attendance lines now so parents, teachers and district staff have plenty of time to get ready.

Burch said all attendance plans should be finalized by January or February 2017.

“We need to get it going fast though, because the schools are going to open up soon,” he said.

Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN

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