Federal judge rules on Riverview enrollment

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - A federal judge ruled on the number of students to be enrolled at Riverview Charter School in Beaufort.

Judge Sol Blatt Jr. ruled Wednesday that Riverview Charter School can enroll 456 students this coming year and 494 students for the 2013-2014 school year.

The ruling is the latest decision in a lawsuit in federal court between Riverview Charter School and the Beaufort County School District over current and future enrollment.

The 2012-13 enrollment is expected to be 456 students, which means is an increase of 114 students and would be an additional cost of $1,003,200, according to the Beaufort County School District.

If 456 students are enrolled at Riverview, the total budget for Riverview Charter School for 2012-13 is projected at $4,012,800. The budget is largely local taxpayer funded, according to the school district. Riverview says some of that budget total will be sent back for rental of temporary facilities and that it is the only public school in Beaufort to pay rent.

Riverview filed a declaratory judgment in South Carolina state court over the enrollment issue. The case then went to federal court.

Riverview's original charter provided for 380 students over a five-year period, the Beaufort County Board of Education later agreed to add two additional classes in the hopes of improving diversity, according to the school district. Those classes would make for 418 total pupils in the school's first five years.

According to a news release from Riverview: "In previous attempts to settle the matter, the maximum enrollment BCSD offered Riverview were 399 students for the upcoming year and 418 students for 2013-2014. Despite claims from BCSD during the trial, no enrollment caps have been set for the 10-year term of the charter." Read full statement from Riverview Charter School.

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