As the new school year starts in the Chattahoochee Valley this week and next, here's a summary of the major changes in local public school districts.
The most important changes to remember in the Muscogee County School District are the new start and end times for class days. Elementary schools will serve breakfast 15 minutes earlier. Middle schools will start class 10 minutes earlier and dismiss 13 minutes earlier. High schools will dismiss 5 minutes earlier.
All of which results in the following new schedules for the 2014-15 school year:
Elementary schools -- 7:15 a.m. breakfast; 8 a.m. start; 2:30 p.m. dismissal.
Middle schools -- 8:20 a.m. breakfast; 8:50 a.m. start; 3:52 p.m. dismissal.
High schools -- 7:55 a.m. breakfast; 8:25 a.m. start; 3:20 p.m. dismissal.
Three schools receiving state School Improvement Grants -- Fox Elementary School, Jordan High School and Spencer High School -- are required to have 60 hours of additional instruction time during the school year. So their schedules will be as follows:
Fox -- 7:15 a.m. breakfast, 8 a.m. start; 3 p.m. dismissal.
Jordan and Spencer -- 7:50 a.m. breakfast; 8:05 a.m. start; 3:20 p.m. dismissal.
Here are other changes in the Muscogee County School District:
Lunch prices have increased by 5 cents -- from $2 to $2.05 for elementary school students and from $2.25 to $2.30 for middle school and high school students.
Tickets to attend high school sporting events are cheaper. For a football game, instead of paying $7 in advance and $10 at the gate, the price is $5 in advance and $7 at the gate. No discount is offered for advance sales in the other sports, but the district does offer a discount for students. So for a basketball game, instead of paying $7, students will pay $3 and adults will pay $5. Those prices also apply for baseball, soccer, softball, swimming, track, volleyball and wrestling.
A new district-wide reading program, called Reading Wonders, is being implemented to align with the Common Core national standards Georgia has adopted. The cost of $1,755,022 is being spread over two fiscal years and comes with $5,126,230 in free materials.
A new district-wide math program, called enVisionMATH, is being implemented to also align with the Common Core. The cost to the district is $960,815, spread over two fiscal years. In return, the district receives $3,899,718 in free materials.
Dorothy Height Elementary School opens Thursday, when summer vacation ends for students. Cusseta Road and Muscogee elementary schools closed and merged to form the new school at 1458 Benning Drive. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax county voters approved in 2009 funded the $17.5 million project. Tammy Anderson, who was principal at Cusseta Road, will lead the new school.
The following schools will have new principals (12 of the district's 58 sites): the AIM Program (Reginald Griffin), Allen Elementary (Karen Garner), Blackmon Road Middle (Penny Bowen), Davis Elementary (Carla Henry), Double Churches Middle (Craig Fitts), Eddy Middle (Shermaine Derrick), Fox Elementary (Tujuana Wiggins), Key Elementary (Eddie Lindsey III), Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary (Michael Davis), Northside High (Marty Richburg), Spencer High (Johnny Freeman) and the Woodall Program (LaChrista McQueen).
The district's 30 pre-kindergarten sites have been consolidated into nine Early Success Centers.
Students in Phenix City Public Schools also must get used to new start and end times for class days.
Central High, Central Freshman Academy and South Girard School will conduct classes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., instead of 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Phenix City Intermediate and Lakewood Primary will conduct classes from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., instead of 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
All the elementary schools will conduct classes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., instead of 8:35 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Lunch prices have increased by 25 cents. The prices went from $2.25 to $2.50 for grades K-5 and from $2.50 to $2.75 for grades 6-12.
In addition to a new superintendent (Randy Wilkes), the system has new principals at five of its 13 sites: Central Freshman Academy (David Sikes), Lakewood Elementary (Sharon Elder), Phenix City Elementary (Shuvon Ray), Phenix City Intermediate (Jason Stamp) and South Girard (Kerry McDonald).
Harris County has a new superintendent, Jimmy Martin, who moved from Chattahoochee County, where assistant superintendent Richard Cooley is the interim superintendent.
In Lee County, Joaquin Richards was promoted from assistant principal to principal of Smiths Station High School.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.