Fountain Inn High School opening delayed to at least 2019
The opening of a new Fountain Inn High has been pushed back at least
two years amid concerns that building the school sooner would lead to a
tax spike and that Golden Strip population growth hasn’t been fast
enough to fill it with students.
decision on when the school will open has been put off until 2015, but
the way it’s set now, opening day wouldn’t be any sooner than 2019.
board members Crystal Ball O’Connor and Lisa Wells, who represent the
Golden Strip, said they were disappointed and baffled as to why the
board reversed course two weeks after voting to keep the opening on
schedule in 2017.
a delay that represents the possibility of one delay after another,”
O’Connor said. “When something is not reflected as a priority, it
continues to get pushed down the road.”
board member Danna Rohleder, who has opposed a 2017 opening, said she
has no problem building the school when there are enough students to
fill it, ideally to at least 80 percent capacity.
“I think the administration in this case would be happy with 60 percent capacity,” said Rohleder, who represents the Eastside.
Fountain Inn high school timetable has been in question since the
administration released a projection that a building with a capacity of
1,000 would have 114 students if it opened in 2017.
opening day were pushed back to 2022, enrollment would be 455 and the
tax blow would be softened, according to administration projections.
The district has already bought 61 acres on Quillen Avenue for $2.1 million.
Greenville County school board voted 8-4 on April 23 to determine the
school’s occupancy date in 2015 and for the date to be no earlier than
was a reversal from two weeks earlier, when the board debated four
hours and then voted 7-4 to keep the school on schedule to open in 2017,
while the administration gathered community input and researched middle
and high school capacity needs in southern Greenville County.
of staying on schedule said the Golden Strip is the fastest growing
part of the county and that they feel the rumblings of an imminent boom.
They said the school is needed to relieve Mauldin and Hillcrest high
schools, where enrollments of more than 2,000 in each have left some
students feeling disconnected.
They have said the administration ought
to look for innovative educational models, including the possibility of
adding middle school grades to the Fountain Inn high school.
said enrollment growth has shrunk since the recession hit and that the
growth has been skewed to elementary school grades. They have expressed
concern that not having enough students at Fountain Inn High would make
it difficult to offer adequate academic programs, such as Advance
5 mill countywide tax spike would be needed if the school were built in
2017 but not if it were pushed back to 2019, according to district
O’Connor and Wells have vowed to continue advocating for the Fountain Inn area.
they knew of no specific proposal to put the school back on schedule,
Wells said it could be if the administration would look for solutions
connected to overcrowding and large schools. The answers might not look
like what is found in other schools, she said.
“I doubt it, but I would be happy if it didn’t look like every other school,” Wells said.
have said they would be concerned about putting middle school students
in the same building as high school students. O’Connor said both can be
accommodated by thoughtfully structuring programs.
decision on when to build a Fountain Inn high school was part of the
board’s annual review of its long-range facilities plan.
Burke Royster was asking as part of the review for the board to set an
occupancy date of no earlier than 2019 and to give him until the 2014-15
school year to make a recommendation to get a better handle on
population growth and establish attendance boundaries.
Rohleder offered the motion that went with Royster’s original plan.
in favor of the Royster plan were Kenneth Baxter, Joy Grayson, Megan
Hickerson, Lynda Leventis-Wells, Roger Meek, Rohleder, Pat Sudduth and
Voting against the Royster Plan were: Debi Bush, Glenda Morrison-Fair, O’Connor