In Our Schools: Rezoning for 2026-2027 Approved

Lexington Richland School District Five approved two potential rezoning plans to be implemented in Fall 2026.  The rezoning options are based on the potential outcomes of the zero-tax rate increase bond referendum on the November ballot. Why approve two plans? Our district is attempting to address three (3) objectives: (1) convert the unique grade structure of LR5 into a traditional feeder system, (2) use the existing school campuses to accommodate the existing growth issues in Chapin, and (3) improve the safety and structural conditions of the poor-rated facilities as determined by a 3rd party architectural and engineering firm.  These poor-rated facilities are located in the Dutch Fork and Irmo attendance zones.

The first objective is to reduce the current eight (8) grade structures in Lexington Richland School District Five to four (4) grade structures. For example, we currently serve 3K/4K, K-4 elementary, K-5 elementary, 5-6 intermediate, 6 intermediate, 6 – 8 middle, 7- 8 middle, and 9 – 12 high school level. The most unique of these structures is the 6th-grade Crossroads Intermediate School, which enrolls students from ten (10) elementary schools for one year and then sends the students into two different middle schools. Regardless of the 2024 Bond Referendum results, LR5 will have four grade structures (3K/4K, K-5 elementary, 6-8 middle, and 9-12 high school) beginning in Fall 2026.

The rezoning plan uses existing facilities to address current and future growth issues. We have three geographic feeders with three different enrollment growth realities. Irmo’s growth is stable, yet the  Dutch Fork attendance zone has seen a decline in student enrollment since the early 2000s. The Chapin attendance zone has seen a steep rise in student enrollment over the last decade and now has the largest percentage of in-person enrollment of all three zones. Instead of building new buildings in Chapin, LR5 decided to fill its existing schools. The referendum’s outcome will determine how families may be impacted by the rezoning plans. With the referendum, our district can remove its portables and add additional space by financing the expansion of its existing schools (new wings on Chapin Elementary and Lake Murray Elementary, and a new Dutch Fork Elementary with expanded capacity). If the referendum fails, more students will be rezoned from their current zoned school into schools where space is available. You can visit  to learn about our rezoning methodology and how the rezoning plan affects your residence.

The third objective is contingent on the passage of a $240 million no-tax-rate increase Bond Referendum on the November 5, 2024, ballot. In August 2023, a third-party architectural and engineering firm, McMillian Pazdan and Smith (MPS) issued a report citing 11,137 maintenance instances that need to be addressed within the 3.8 million square feet of school and district facilities. While the reported instances continue to grow, the estimated repair cost was $182 million in August 2023. Of the 25 campuses assessed in the facilities condition report, the 10 worst-rated facilities are in Dutch Fork and Irmo. With annual maintenance budgets netting $11 million for repairing needs, the school district is in a state of deferred maintenance. With the referendum, the district can issue $240 million of bonds by FY2027 to address the needs identified in FY24 and increase safety and security measures. Without the referendum, the district can issue $240 million of bonds by FY2037 to address the needs identified in FY24.

Lexington Richland School District Five seeks to inform all citizens of the issues and options in the upcoming referendum. Our role is to inform the community and not influence any action. As a result, we will post informational and educational material on our website for the public to review before the November 5, 2024, election.

Dr. Akil E. Ross, Sr.


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