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Education: District enrollment grows while Waccamaw schools stay flat

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

On the first day of class, the Georgetown County School District was short by about 300 students. But they were all back this week, and then some.

Enrollment is up by 83 students over the district’s projections. While less than a 10th of 1 percent, it continues a trend of small increases after a decade of steady decline. And unlike past years, the biggest growth in enrollment has come this year in the western parts of the county rather than on Waccamaw Neck. District enrollment is 9,346.

The four Waccamaw schools are up by a total of five students. Waccamaw High is down by 29 students. “I’m a little surprised by Waccamaw,” Superintendent Randy Dozier said. He checked to make sure all the students were counted.

There are 836 students enrolled at Waccamaw High, down

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from 853 at the end of the last school year. It was projected to have 865 this year. “It’s a normal fluctuation,” principal David Hammel said. “It’s a transient area.”

Dozier was also surprised by a gain of 77 students at Andrews High. The school board voted this year to reduce tuition for out-of-county students, who typically come from Williamsburg County. Dozier wasn’t sure if that affected the numbers at Andrews High, whose campus sits on County Line Road.

Minority students from Andrews and Carvers Bay can also attend Waccamaw High with the district providing transportation as a way to balance the racial mix at the schools, a process approved by the U.S. Justice Department. At one time Waccamaw had as many at 160 intra-county transfers, Hammel said. The average is around 70.

Waccamaw Intermediate, with 539 students, is up 33 from the district projections. Principal Tim Carnahan said growth has come from families moving into the area. “The economy’s picked up and people are moving to the area,” he said.

Waccamaw Middle is up by six to 447 students. Waccamaw Elementary is down five students to 607.

Georgetown High grew by 50 students to 1,010. It continues to be the county’s largest school.

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