Beaufort County School Board discussing overpopulation issue

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County School Board is meeting Tuesday to discuss ways to handle the growing number of students in the school district.

Just last month, a school board referendum failed at voting polls. We've been speaking to school board and district officials over the last week, trying to find out what's next since that referendum did not pass. Administration tells us the school board will have to answer seven questions which would be the guidelines for drafting a new proposal.

The goal is to address the growing number of student enrollment across the district, but more-so in Bluffton. So far, there are 22,000 students in Beaufort County Schools. The guidelines could be based off grade configuration, transportation, natural boundaries, class size, clustered programs, school choice, and mobile classrooms. The district prefers to operate at a target capacity of 75 to 89 percent. However, four schools are sitting above 90 percent, and two others are currently above 100 percent. We spoke with district officials about next steps.

"There are seven questions that the board is dealing with," said Jim Foster, Beaufort County Schools, District Spokesperson. "Questions like, 'how many kids in the classroom is too many? If we rezone, do we move students across natural boundaries like a river? How long of a bus ride is too long? Do we end the district school choice program?'

The meeting is still going on. We'll update you as soon as we know more.

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