3 Fort Mill schools freeze enrollment for new students

FORT MILL, S.C. — Three schools in the Fort Mill School District aren’t taking any new students for the foreseeable future.

According to the school district on Wednesday, there’s now an enrollment freeze at Gold Hill Elementary School, Gold Hill Middle School, and Pleasant Knoll Middle School.

The district says the freeze is in place “in an effort to maintain favorable student-teacher ratios in all schools and limit overcrowding in current buildings.”

Here’s what it means for new students who are zoned for those schools.

Gold Hill Elementary School students will be enrolled at Orchard Park Elementary.

Gold Hill Middle School students will be enrolled at Banks Trail Middle School.

Pleasant Knoll Middle School students will be enrolled at Springfield Middle School or Banks Trail Middle school based on which high school they’re zoned for. Students zoned for Nation Ford High School will go to Springfield, while students zoned for Fort Mill High School will go to Banks Trail.

For some parents like Grant Oliver, the announcement comes after they specifically chose to be near the schools.

“We moved here mainly because of the community and the schools, the schools being the main part,” said Oliver.

And he’s not alone -- new families in the area have caused enrollment to grow about 6% per year over the past decade.

“If you think about it, that’s about a half to a full school every year that we grow,” said Fort Mill Schools spokesperson Joe Burke.

The freeze only affects students who are new to the attendance zone, the district said.

Fort Mill School District says assigned buses will stay the same, and students will travel to their assigned school each day via shuttle.

Burke says the district will re-assess the freeze after the summer to decide if it should continue.

“It’s a shame for people moving here for that very reason, like we did,” Oliver said. “Hopefully, they know that going into it; if not, that will be a real shock”

District leaders tell Channel 9 that without the freeze, the district would have to consider increasing class sizes or using more portable classrooms.

The long-term solution is to build new schools, and plans are already in place to build two new elementary schools and one new middle school. Two of those schools are slated to open in 2025.

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