State Rep. Ben Harbin recently introduced House Bill 061, which would require the Georgia High School Association to allow schools to change classification if they have to travel more than 200 miles round trip to athletic events.
I am encouraged by the legislation and hope this can work to reduce the instructional impact on our students and lessen the impact to our limited fiscal resources.
You wouldn't expect to field a world-class athletic team by cutting their practice time and slashing your training budget. Yet this is exactly what is happening now with some schools, like Greenbrier High School.
We want to produce great academic students, but if they participate in competitive athletics, they frequently must travel for hours to play in areas like Atlanta. This cuts into classroom and study time, and it comes with more travel costs.
While competitive athletics are an important part of our schools, academics must have a higher priority. Students, parents and schools are dealing with unnecessary hardships unless we have the flexibility and choice that Harbin's legislation creates.
You can view the legislation at http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/fulltext/hb161.htm.
(Mike Sleeper is a member of the Columbia County Board of Education representing District 3.)
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