Some Chapin parents have concerns with school district’s lottery system

The district says the lottery is in place to keep class sizes at two elementary schools down

CHAPIN, S.C. (WOLO) — Several Chapin parents are speaking out against a lottery put in place by Lexington-Richland School District Five to determine which students could attend certain elementary schools.

Over the past few years, Lake Murray Elementary School and Chapin Elementary School have had more than a thousand students come through their doors.

Dr. Michael Harris, the Chief Planning and Administrative Officer with Lexington-Richland School District Five, says the districts like to keep their elementary school populations around 750.

“The number of students that we saw there a couple years ago, we felt it was important to look at some options to see and make certain that our students are getting and maintaining the very best in terms of education,” Dr. Harris said.

The district responded to this massive increase of students by putting an enrollment freeze on Lake Murray Elementary in 2018, following suit with Chapin Elementary this year.

This led to the pool of students who recently moved into the district to be put into a lottery to fill in the empty seats. As a result, some families now have students split up among different elementary schools across the district.

One parent told ABC Columbia she had one student placed into Chapin Elementary School, but another who did not get selected. She says she’s considering home-schooling the student who did not get selected, partially to avoid sending her to a school miles away from her home.

As a result of Chapin Elementary’s enrollment freeze, students who did not get picked could choose to attend Ballentine Elementary, Dutch Fork Elementary School, Irmo Elementary School, Harbison West Elementary School, Oak Pointe Elementary School, River Springs Elementary School, or several magnet schools across the district.

Some parents say they could see why those whose children are not able to attend their local school would be upset.

“We have new families moving into our neighborhoods, and my kids don’t go to school with them. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. So as a parent that’s dealing with this freeze, I know they’re frustrated. It’s not fair,” said Taylor Rider, a parent who has had three students go through Lake Murray Elementary School. 

Since her family moved to Chapin before the enrollment freeze, Rider’s three children were not subject to the lottery. 

She says it’s a good thing the district is taking action, but it’s not going to stop people from moving in.

Harris says overcrowding only exists at the elementary schools, but says a solution will be up and ready in two years.

“When our new elementary school is built, and it’s ready to open and receive and educate students, the enrollment freeze essentially fades then vanishes,” Rider said.

If parents have students that were split up among different elementary schools as a result of the lottery, they are encouraged to contact the District.

The first day of school for the schools in Chapin is August 21. 

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