HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A St. James Elementary School parent found a letter in her third-grader’s backpack that she never expected. 

“So I started reading it and it informed us and other parents in the third grade class that she was in, that the class was being dissolved,” said Mary Gardner, the parent of the child. “And that the children would be reassigned into other classrooms due to not enough children in attendance.”

Gardner then reached out to the principal, who told her the decision was made by the Horry County School Board. 

“We wrote formal complaints and reached out for answers to the superintendent, Gardner said. “We did not receive anything back until day three.”

The message Gardner received said, “Every year the district reviews the actual enrollment at each school on the fifth day and 10th day of school. If the actual enrollment results in an overallocation of staff, then we may need to reduce a teacher allocation.”  

Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said St. James third grade classrooms will now have 23 students, which abides by the allocation formula. 

“The other parents and I were just very frustrated because they were getting more one-on-one attention with the 19 and 20 children in the classrooms,” Gardner said. 

Gardner’s daughter’s former third grade teacher remains at St. James Elementary School as a STEM teacher, according to Bourcier. 

“I now know that she has been reassigned to another position, which I’m very grateful for,” Gardner said. “She is a wonderful teacher. I think the other parents and I are just very frustrated and saddened because she had already made such an impact on our children.” 

Gardner heeds to this not being the first time Horry County has cut a class within the first few weeks of school, but is not fond of the decision. 

“We have the money coming in from all the people moving down here. I mean, it’s growing so much here,” Gardner said. “We should be able to help these schools. We should be putting our kids and our teachers first.”