BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Clogged hallways, dozens of trailers, and students with nowhere to sit at lunch. These are some of the problems plaguing the heavily populated schools in Berkeley County.
The bell just rang and students at Stratford High School crowd the halls. Some are headed to class. Others are forced to eat lunch in the halls because the cafeteria is so crowded.
"It's not a good high school experience. I want to be able to eat lunch with all my friends, not have us separated and stuff," SHS junior Phillip Habib said.
Out back, hundreds of students take class in portable trailers because there's no more space in the building.
"By nature simply being away from the rest of the building is an issue and the other part is that for security, no big problems, but you have access without having to go through the office," Yes 4 Schools Co-chair John Matthews said.
These are the types of district wide school overcrowding issues in Berkeley County.
"We've had a surge in student population. We know this growth is going to continue," District Superintendent Rodney Thompson said.
To improve the schools and do away with portable classrooms, the district now has a $198 million building plan in place to build 5 new schools and renovate or improve 29 other schools district wide. Improvements will be paid for through a referendum on November's ballot.
If approved, it will mean a property tax increase, and for a homeowner with a $100,000 home, it would be about $40 more a year.
Dorchester District Two parents also kicked off their own "Yes 4 Schools" campaign, for public support for a building plan in that district. The district has a $179 million referendum on the ballot. The plan is to build four new schools as well as make several renovations at existing schools. The tax increase would be $68 more a year for someone with a $100,000 home.
Voters head to the polls on November 6th.