County commissioners hear study on schools as population increases

BURGAW, N.C. (WWAY) — Pender County Commissioners heard a demographics study on schools as the county prepares to deal with increased growth.

The study helps address questions about how many young families are migrating to the county and where to school children as many existing schools approach capacity limits.

The study says that elementary school enrollment will slowly increase over the next decade. The overall school district population increase is forecasted to be 6.6% over the next five years and 3.4% over the next ten years.

If nothing changes, according to the study — high schools in the county could be operating at 107% capacity by 2030.

There is no changing routes or moving kids around that will fix the problems that we’ve got,” says Pender County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Hill. “We’re victims of our own success. The school system is doing so great that people from all over the country have discovered us and our population growth is astounding at this time. ”

One of the proposed changes would involve building a new elementary and middle school near the New Hanover County line. Another proposed change would involve turning Topsail Middle School into a 9th-grade-only facility to immediately alleviate any stress put upon Topsail High School.

Options are discussed in this document.

Hill says he is happy about the discussions and where they seem to be heading. If all goes as planned, Hill hopes to see a bond referendum introduced as early as next year to help finance the new schools.


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