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Edgefield charter school gains more out-of-county students

Fox Creek

Fox Creek Principal Timothy Murph said the school went from having 25 out-of-county students to nearly 60 this year. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 24, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

EDGEFIELD, S.C. -- Fox Creek High School in Edgefield County is attracting more students this year. Many of them are from another county all together.

The new freshmen class at Fox Creek High School includes students like Will Fagan, who lives in North Augusta, but his parents wanted him to attend school in Edgefield County at Fox Creek, even though he isn't zoned for it.

"It gives us a different kind of learning environment instead of having a public school environment," Fagan said.

This year Fagan's parents are getting a break. They don't have to shell out $2,500 just so their son can attend school in Edgefield.

Timothy Murph, the principal at Fox Creek said it has been a heartbreaking experiencing every summer for the past six years.

"I'd have to look a parent in the eye who is begging me to let their child come to school here and I say, 'Yes, your child can come but you have to pay $2600-$2700," Murph said.

Murph says Fox Creek went from having 25 out-of-county students to nearly 60 this year.

"Fox Creek has been ranked No. 1 academically across the CSRA," Murph said. "We've had strong success in recent years."

The school also has a lower student-to-teacher ratio and Murph said that's attracting parents to enroll their child at Fox Creek.

"I think it was a great idea to give Aiken County kids a chance to come to a charter school, since we don't have one in Aiken County," Fagan said.

There are some drawbacks. Students like Fagan only receive federal and state funding, not local. Out-of-county students that come here also mean fewer dollars for the district where they would have attended school, but Murph says in the end it comes down to the students' and parents' choice.

"A lot of our parents are excited about the fact that they can send their child to a school that's culturally private but free of charge," Murph said.

The fee waiver is a board decision which the principal expects to extend into the 2012-2013 school year.

Murph said he has not heard of anyone opposing the waiver. He said the number of students that are out of county from Aiken County make an insignificant difference in the entire school budget for Aiken County.

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