Some 120 Pritchardville Elementary School students would be shifted to other schools next year under alternatives being examined by Beaufort County officials to alleviate overcrowding at the fast-growing school.
One plan would move the entire cluster of students to Bluffton Elementary, which some already pass near on the way to Pritchardville Elementary. Another option would split the affected group between Bluffton Elementary and M.C. Riley Elementary.
Several families, superintendent Jeff Moss said, already are “three times” closer to Bluffton Elementary than they are to Pritchardville.
“Some actually drive past Bluffton Elementary to get to Pritchardville Elementary,” he told school board members last week.
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The affected neighborhoods run along May River Road from Buck Island Parkway to just north of Old Miller Road. Parents in those areas received notification this week and were invited to share concerns with Moss during Tuesday’s previously scheduled “town hall” at Bluffton High.
Pritchardville Elementary, in Bluffton’s fast-growing New Riverside area, already is 52 students over its 800-student capacity. Projections show that number could grow by an additional 80 students for the 2017-18 school year.
“They do not have classroom space for teachers that they need,” Moss said. Without rezoning, Pritchardville would have to raise class-size limits or bring in portable classrooms.
Other rezoning may follow in subsequent years, Moss said, without building plans to handle the influx of families.
“We’re going to have to start looking at pockets that continue to grow,” he said. “Without the construction of additional classrooms, we’ll have to make a decision on class size, modulars or continually shifting students.”