New school year means new school for reassigned Richmond County students

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News 12 NBC 26 News At 11 | Monday, August 7, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- More than 800 Richmond County students are getting used to a new school, but construction may have them changing schools again next year.

Slant routes in the backyard are a summer afternoon tradition for Donnell Bussey and his son Demonta.

These afternoon catch sessions are about to be replaced with homework and studying, but they aren't the only changes on the way for this family. Demonta is one of more than 800 Richmond County students reassigned to a new school this year as Sego Middle School, Wheeless Road Elementary and Rollins Elementary are set to undergo construction and remodeling.

"I did hear about the changes," Bussey says, "and I wasn't too happy about them because we're right around the corner from Sego. You know, it would've been easier for us to get the kids to school."

Sego Middle, the school Demonta was supposed to be attending this year, sits empty with uncut grass and empty sidewalks as it and Rollins Elementary awaits demolition before the two merge next year. Damonta will be taking his classes 15 minutes away at Glenn Hills Middle School, but his father still has concerns about what school environment his son will be walking into in 2018.

"I think that'll take away from the concentration of the middle school kids as opposed to the elementary school kids," Bussey says. "Like, too many kids to deal with all in one place. I think it'll be difficult to manage to first couple years."

It's not just there where students of different levels will be spending time together. New changes mean Murphey Middle and Josey High School students are sharing some space too. They'll all be using the same cafeteria and the bus pick up area, but at different times.

Richmond County Board of Education member Jack Padgett says they'll all be getting into a new routine, but will keep students focused on continuing their studies instead of focusing on switching schools.

"Kids are very adaptable," Padgett says. "It's the adults that I get more concerned about more that I do the kids because to kids, school is school pretty well. And they have their own friends they'll carry with them and of course they'll make a lot more friends."

Bussey just hopes his son will succeed, wherever he goes to school.

"I just hope that the decisions made by the Board of Education go in favor of the kids," Bussey says. "I think in the future it may turn out right and we'll see, but I can't predict what's going to happen."

As for opening day, Padgett says he hasn't gotten any calls or emails from parents confused about where their students should be going. He says most of them had their questions answered back in April during several public meetings and things seem to have gone well the first day.

The Richmond County Board of Education awarded bids to a demolition company a few weeks ago, meaning Sego Middle and Rollins Elementary will be coming down soon. We don't know which company's involved and there hasn't been any yet word on who'll build those new schools. Padgett says that will be announced following demolition of the two schools.