Education

Sorry, we’re full: District freezes enrollment at Chapin schools

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The Chapin area of Lexington-Richland 5 school district is growing fast — too fast, district leaders say.

Students moving into the Chapin and Lake Murray elementary attendance areas after Jan. 22 will be redirected elsewhere, according to the latest decision by the board of trustees.

The board approved on Jan. 14 a plan to freeze enrollment at Chapin Elementary in an effort to mitigate overcrowding. In 2018, the board also put a freeze on Lake Murray Elementary “to provide a temporary solution to growth,” said Michael Harris, chief planning and administrative officer for the district.

“The number of students in the Chapin attendance area continues to increase, despite several actions the district has taken to control enrollment at the school,” Harris said, according to a news release. “We vetted several options and determined that the most viable solution, in the immediate, is to implement enrollment freezes for these two schools.”

Chapin Elementary’s student population was 853 at the start of the school year and Lake Murray Elementary had a student population of 924.

In an effort to redirect the growth, the district has increased magnet school offerings, moved special education programs to campuses with more space and closed some schools to choice. Plans for a new elementary school on Amicks Ferry Road are also in the works.

Chapin has seen a growth spurt over the past few years and is only projected to become more developed and in-demand in coming years, thanks to its proximity to Lake Murray and Columbia.

Families who already live in the frozen zones will not be affected. Those who move into the areas will be reassigned to the elementary school of their choice: Ballentine, Dutch Fork (Academy of Environmental Sciences), River Springs or any of the district magnet schools, though these require applications.

The district will provide transportation for students who choose to attend Ballentine, Dutch Fork or River Springs elementary schools.

Isabella Cueto covers Lexington County, one of the fastest-growing areas of South Carolina. She is a bilingual multimedia journalist from Miami, Florida. She previously worked as a reporter for The Medill Justice Project and WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. She graduated from the University of Miami.


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