Changes for first day of school in Columbia County

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Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

COLUMBIA CO. (WRDW)- Some changes coming to Columbia County schools this year. Parents, you'll need to get your documents in order, but some of you will get to sleep in a little longer.

"There's always that sadness about summer ending, but that excitement about getting your schedule back underway," said Janelle Smith.

This year when Columbia County students go back some things will be different.
"I know last year when I was subbing the class rooms were very large," said Catie Adams.

This year they'll be smaller. The county hired 100 new teachers for the record 25,000 students who will walk the halls this year. For first year teacher Catie Adams, she says a smaller class size helps.

"Instead of having say 30 kids to one teacher even just having 25 is better because there's more one on one time," said Adams.

Each year the number of students grows by 400 to 500 kids so the board is getting stricter about where you live. Now, they're requiring parents to show proof of residency every year.

"Too many people over the past several years have been kind of abusing the system and not living in the county and still getting the benefits and coming to the great schools in our county," said CCSBOE member Mike Sleeper.

If you didn't send your proof of residency your child won't be on the roster, and the county could get even more strict with the new policy in the future.

"I heard that next year we were going to have to provide two forms of proof of residency showing where you live," said Smith.

Jannelle smith is a mother of three, and a teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary, like most moms getting them to school can be a challenge.

"I'm going to have three different children in three different schools so thats going to be tricky just getting them all there and picked up at the right time," said Smith.

This year elementary and middle school start times are pushed back by 10 minutes, something Smith thinks can't hurt.

"If you're one of the ones always running right there to the wire, I think that extra ten minutes will be a nice cushion," said Smith.

columbia county high schools will also be getting a 7th period--
so if a student didn't quite make the grade in a class they can take it over

Start times are a little different this year. Elementary schools start at 8:40, middle schools 7:30, and high schools 7:35