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Classes grow with enrollment

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

Rising enrollment at Waccamaw schools has led to larger classes while the school district waits to see if funds will be available for additional teachers.

Andria Eddy, a second-grade teacher at Waccamaw Elementary School, started school this week with 22 students. She said she usually has 15 to 20.

“We’re growing, growing, growing,” Waccamaw Elementary principal Vervatine Reid said. “Currently we have 22 students in nine classes.”

Waccamaw Intermediate School opened with 560 students, an increase of 30 over last year. Waccamaw Middle School had 325 last year, but now has about 400.

Principals said they can always use more teachers, but won’t find out if they’ll get them until the state gets 10-day enrollment reports.

“Don’t dollars come from attendance reports?” School Board Chairman Jim Dumm asked at a board meeting this week.

The state determines how much money schools receive based on enrollment.

If Waccamaw schools have more students, they could get money to hire more teachers.

Meanwhile, teachers are adjusting to larger class sizes.

At the intermediate school, Barbara O’Neill, a sixth-grade teacher, said her classroom space is limited since desks take up most of the room.

Superintendant Randy Dozier is looking at class sizes to see if the school needs another teacher, Reid said.

Waccamaw Elementary needed a language teacher to keep its International Baccalaureate certification, but it didn’t get one this fall. Reid doesn’t know if that trend will continue.

“We do hope that using our creativity and our alternative plan, we will maintain that status,” she said.

The school will use computer software, games and a parent volunteer to teach students Spanish.

Schools in Andrews, Plantersville and Browns Ferry are losing students, Dozier said. He believes job losses are to blame. To raise enrollment and keep teacher positions, the district is calling parents and going to homes to make sure all children are in schhool.

“Typically, you can’t be down students and keep the same staff,” Dozier said.

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