ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Anderson School District One is growing by hundreds of students each year, and they’re projecting the population to grow even faster in the next couple of years.

“Well we’re a growing district, and we’ve been growing for 30 years, and when you’re a growing district, when you have more houses that are being built, students moving in, you have to supply and you have to plan for how you’re going to build additions and how you’re going to build new schools,” said Anderson School District One Superintendent Robbie Binnicker.

Binnicker said the district is one of the state’s fastest growing, which he said is putting pressure on the district to build more schools and expand the ones they have.

Now the district is planning for that growth, with a proposed fee on new construction, that will likely drive up the cost of a new home. It’s called an impacted fee.

“Our schools may last a long time but we can not stretch and expand them like a rubber band to serve more students,” said Nancy Upton, Chair of Anderson School District One Board of Trustees.

“So it’s just exploding, and we want to do what’s best for our community,” said Mike Wilson, Anderson School District One Board of Trustee.

The District One Board of Trustees is asking Anderson County Council and planning commissioners to approve a new impact fee for ever new home built in the district. The trustees passed a resolution at its November meeting.

“Many of our schools, Concrete Primary School is already overcapacity. Powdersville Elementary School has two empty classrooms. They’ll be overcapacity in a very short period of time,” Binnicker said.

One parent said she’s has been seeing the growth too.

“There has been a lot of growth. I mean of course it’s changed a lot since I was a school age student. Also within the last few years we have seen a lot of growth. New apartments going in. New housing developments and you know, it’s a nice place to live. It’s a good school district and people want to be a part of that, which is understandable,” said Lorri Lundgren, a parent. “But it has been a lot of growth. It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge to keep up with that, with trying to keep the schools where they don’t become overcrowded,” she said. “I do have some concerns.”

District documents show an enrollment projection of more than 980 additional new students in the next ten years. The district said the proposed impact fee is designed to allow growth to pay for growth.

“Basically, the current residents, the current property owners, the current businesses of Anderson One, would actually be helped by an impact fee because the burden down the road would be lessen. There would actually be less millage, less taxes to pay for a school addition or a new school construction. The fee is actually applied to someone buying a new home in Anderson School District One,” Binnicker said. “So the new home is actually what’s creating the additional capacity needs.”

Binnicker said the fee would only apply to someone buying a new home in the district.

“The study determines what the impact fee is, and that impact fee is actually on a single family home is about $11,200, and the impact fee on a multi-family home is about $7,700,” Binnicker said. “It’s a one-time fee that’s collected at the time that the permit is issued. Typically that is rolled in to the mortgage of a particular home, so that would be paid out over 30 years. The study shows that that for an average house, that’s approximately $55, is what that averages out in the mortgage payment,” Binnicker said.

Some Anderson County Council members had some concerns.

“It just confuses me when you stated that this will not impact growth or people coming in and developing there. There’s no possible way in this world that that’s not going to impact people’s thoughts on coming to that area. When you’re looking at $12,000, $11,000 upfront,” said Councilman S. Ray Graham, Anderson County Council District Three. “So on top of property taxes, that already goes to the school district, now they’re going to also have to pay almost $12,000 to build a new house. There’s no way that’s not going to impact people’s judgement on where they’re going to move,” Graham said. “I understand the importance of education. I’m not putting light on that, but I mean I just do not know that this is the answer to this. $12,000 to build a new house, that is a huge burden on a young family that’s probably already got college debt that they’re trying to get started,” he said.

“We certainly are not aware of a situation where an impact fee was implemented anywhere and actually decreased the growth in a district or a county,” Binnicker said. “We don’t anticipate a slow down in the growth, this is really just a way to try to help pay for the infrastructure of the growth because of the new homes,” Binnicker said.

The District is projecting a new elementary school will have to be built for Powdersville within the next six to nine years, and more additions to its current schools.

Planned Capacity Projects

FacilityEstimated YearStudent Seats
New Elementary School – Powdersville Area2029600
Spearman Elementary Addition2026200
Powdersville Middle School Addition2025250
Palmetto High School Addition2026250
Source: Anderson School District 1

Binnicker said they are trying to get ahead of everything now and help its current residents.

“It’s important to us because of our current residents. They’ve really supported our school district. They’ve supported a lot of building programs through the years, and this is a way to give our current residents, our current businesses, our current property owners in Anderson One to really give them a little bit of relief down the road,” Binnicker said.

Anderson School District One leaders said the impact fee has been studied by a national firm, and is in accordance with all requirements under South Carolina law.

The proposal will now go to the planning commission for a vote.

If the planning commission approves the impact fee, it will then have to go to Anderson County Council for three readings.

Click here, to see the school district’s most asked questions, plans, a resolution, a presentation on their website.