Classes resume Monday in Columbia County schools.
The more than 20,000 pupils returning to schools will encounter some big changes. They probably will find a couple of extra children occupying desks.
A state budget crisis created as much as $13.5 million in local cuts in school funding, which partly was countered by increasing class sizes by about two pupils per classroom. The change allowed officials to cut about 100 positions, which includes about 70 teachers and paraprofessionals.
Though classes are growing, student populations will decrease for most high schools because the start of a new school year also includes the opening of the county's newest high school -- Grovetown High.
Situated on Chamblin Road, Grovetown High absorbed hundreds of students from Greenbrier, Evans and Harlem high schools.
Harlem High was most affected by the high school rezoning, losing about 600 students to Grovetown. Come Monday, about 700 students will attend Harlem High.
About 400 former Greenbrier students were rezoned for Grovetown, and an additional 100 rezoned for Harlem.
Evans High lost between 200 and 300 students, with about half rezoned for Grovetown High and the other half rezoned for Lakeside.
Lakeside High was the only high school to slightly increase its population.
Grovetown High is expected to open with an enrollment of about 1,200.
Former Harlem High assistant principal Dietmar Perez takes over at Harlem. He replaces Harlem Principal Alan Griffin, who replaces Bob Starcher at the alternative school. Scott Weinand replaces the retiring Grovetown Elementary Principal Bob Boyd. Replacing Weinand at Evans Elementary is Assistant Principal Naesha Parks.
Classes start Monday at Augusta Christian Schools and Hope Christian Schools of Augusta; Wednesday at Evans Christian Academy; and Aug. 18 at Augusta Preparatory Day School, Augusta First Seventh-day Adventist, and Columbia County Christian Academy.
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