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Enrollment freeze reversed at Fort Mill schools, but growth continues

FORT MILL, S.C. — Leaders with the Fort Mill School District in February froze new enrollment at three schools to limit overcrowding, but that freeze is over for now.

The district was originally going to prevent new enrollment at Gold Hill Elementary School, Gold Hill Middle School, and Pleasant Knoll Middle School. It was because the number of students enrolled in the district has been increasing for years now.

But there’s good news for parents who were impacted.

“This week, we’re starting to contact all 41 students impacted and say if you want to come back to your home school, you can. It’s your choice,” said Joe Burke, a spokesperson with Fort Mill Schools.

Students who left those three schools have made room for more students. But it may not stay that way for long.

“I would say there’s probably going to be some additional freezes during the school year,” Burke said. “We may see them early, or we may just have to put them in later in the semester depending on whenever they actually come.”

Enrollment increased by 5.4% in the 2021-2022 school year, and last year it increased by about 2%. Burke says he expects that trend to continue this coming school year.

“I think we’re going to see a higher student enrollment than we’ve had in previous years,” Burke said.

Elizabeth Haen told Channel 9′s Tina Terry she’s happy the freeze is over for parents hoping to get their kids into her child’s school. But she said she hopes the district won’t hesitate to freeze enrollment if it gets too high.

“I appreciate that my kids are at that school and they aren’t trying to push more kids into that classroom,” Haen said. “I do appreciate that it protects the kids that are already there.”

District leaders told Channel 9 they will use impact fee funds to build a new elementary school. The school is slated to open in the 2025-2026 school year.

(WATCH: Fort Mill’s elementary schools named the best in South Carolina)