Updated 09/12/2012 06:12 PM
Harnett County seeing rise in student enrollment
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HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. — The Harnett County school district said they have seen a rise in more than 800 students in this year's enrollment numbers.
A mother of four said all of her children's classrooms are overcrowded and she is concerned. Over 30 students are in Amanda Heath's daughter's 7th-grade class.
"With so many kids, there is no way that any teacher, no matter how good the teacher is could possibly give them the individual attention that they need,” said Heath.
The Harnett County school district said they have seen a huge rise in student enrollment. Since 2008, their enrollment numbers have gone up by more than 1,400 students. This year enrollment is up by more than 800 students from last school year.
With over 20,000 students enrolled in Harnett County schools this year, school officials are having to use every school bus they have; 241 buses are hitting the road every morning and afternoon.
"We do not allow buses to move if they are overcrowded. We actually, for the first few days of schools, had to do return trips and pull students off of buses,” said Superintendent of Harnett County Schools Tom Frye.
Frye said the overcrowded classrooms are a huge concern. He said they need at least one more school. Currently the county is working to build a new middle school and Frye said they also need a new high school.
He said he is aware of the concerns of parents in situations similar to Heath.
"It is not only matter of the sheer overcrowding issues that we have, it's a matter of budget, state budget. We do a reversion each year, this year Harnett County is losing approximately $4.7 million and that turns into teaching positions,” said Frye.
Harnett County commissioners have voted to increase the county sales tax by quarter cent in order to fund the building of highland middle school in the county. Residents will vote in November on the issue.