Inspections are complete, and 181 yellow buses will hit the streets Monday when the 2008-09 school year begins.
"Last year, my numbers indicated that we transported a little over 12,000 -- maybe 12,500 -- students per day," said Dewayne Porter, the Columbia County school system director of transportation.
He said the school system has added seven routes this year.
"We added some for growth," Porter said.
Administrative officials are anticipating an enrollment this year of about 22,500 students at Columbia County's 30 schools, an increase of about 485 over last year.
Three routes also were added to accommodate high school students who will attend different schools this year under a pocket rezoning plan that the school board finalized in March.
The voluntary pocket rezoning shifted students to the schools that they will attend under a comprehensive rezoning that will go into effect when Grovetown High School opens in 2009.
Under the pocket rezoning, ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders who live in the Flowing Wells Road/Richmond County line area will move from Evans to Lakeside High.
Students in the Hereford Farm and Blanchard roads area will transfer from Greenbrier to Evans High.
Students in the vicinity of Louisville and Appling-Harlem roads will go from Greenbrier to Harlem High.
The pocket rezoning will allow freshmen to attend the same high school for four years and give upperclassmen a chance to move to their new schools a year earlier.
Porter said the school system has 230 buses and 181 routes, including 35 routes for special-needs pupils.
In addition, he said, the school system hired 15 new drivers this year.
Bus drivers attended a safety training class last week, and Porter said all of the buses passed the Department of Motor Vehicles inspection this summer.
"The biggest challenge this time of year is keeping buses from overheating," he said.
Porter said he will track bus ridership numbers in the first two weeks of school to see whether any adjustments need to be made to the routes.
Sandra Carraway, the deputy superintendent, said the school system might have to add another kindergarten class at Lewiston Elementary School, but the school likely will be able to eliminate a class at another grade level.
"The only numbers we're tracking at this point are kindergarten," she said.
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