Before tackling the naming of a new high school and the rezoning of all the county's middle schools, the Columbia County Board of Education on Tuesday recognized the Academic Bowl teams from Riverside, Harlem, Grovetown and Columbia middle schools.
The Riverside team won the region competition, which is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, on Jan. 12. This team, along with the team from St. Mary on the Hill School in Augusta, advanced to the semifinals at Georgia College & State University this weekend.
The Harlem team won the county competition.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the name Grovetown High School for the new high school that is under construction on Chamblin Road.
The board tentatively had approved the name by a 4-0 vote at its Jan. 8 meeting, but Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said she wanted to revisit the issue after she heard opposition from residents about the name.
Scores of people attended the meeting to offer their support for the name, but one parent, Gloria Hillman, of Grovetown, spoke out against it.
Hillman, who has a child at Columbia Middle School who could be rezoned for the Chamblin Road facility, said she thought the pupils should be able to offer their input about the new name.
"I don't feel like Grovetown Middle will be the only feeder school," she said. "We had hoped for a more inclusive name than an exclusive name to the city of Grovetown."
Michael Carter, of Harlem, and Grovetown resident Debby Turner supported the name.
"This has been an honor, I feel, for the city," Turner said.
Buccafusco said some people opposed the name because they were not a part of the Grovetown community. She said many Evans High students have a Martinez address.
Board member Mike Sleeper, who abstained from voting on the name at the previous meeting because he wanted more time to consider the options, also had heard from many constituents about the name.
"The overwhelming majority have not been in favor of this thing. It has a lot to do with the perception of the individual," he said.
The high school is scheduled to open in 2009 and administrators hope to complete a rezoning plan for the high schools by spring.
The board also unanimously approved a rezoning plan for its middle school boundaries. The zones were shifted in preparation of the opening of Stallings Island Middle School on Blackstone Camp Road in August.
Superintendent Charles Nagle said administrators received 218 input forms, e-mails or phone calls about the rezoning, which was presented at two public hearings in December and January. Only 129 people opposed the plan, which affects more than 1,100 pupils, he said.
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