Northside of Warner Robins, the 2009 Class AAAAA runner-up in football, could find out later this month whether its move down to AAAA for 2010 will stick or whether new projected enrollment figures could force the Houston County school to remain in AAAAA.
The Georgia High School Association has called a special meeting of its executive committee on Feb. 24 in Forsyth to discuss it.
At issue is whether the GHSA’s bylaws allow the association to change a school’s class assignment after reclassification has been ratified, as it was in January, when Northside was placed in AAAA with a projected enrollment of 1,820. The cutoff for AAAAA is 1,900.
Also at question is whether the Houston County school board’s revised projection of 1,994 students, released in January, is the appropriate figure to determine Northside’s placement. The number changed amid rezoning negotiations to accommodate Houston County’s newest school, Veterans High.
“The bottom line is a mistake has been made and we have a chance to correct it,” Bainbridge football coach Ed Pilcher told Mike Phillips of the Albany Herald. “It’s fair. It’s the right thing to do. I’m disappointed they haven’t done anything yet.”
But Conrad Nix, who retired as Northside’s football coach after the 2009 season, said he didn’t expect Northside’s enrollment next year to reach 1,900. He said enrollment was officially 1,891 last Monday.
Of those, Nix said 62 will be zoned to other schools in the fall. Nix believed that Northside would surpass 1,900 only with an unusually high number of move-ins or transfers next year.
“Every year, they project how many [students] each school will have,” Nix said. “We never have the projected numbers they say. … We’re not opposed to playing in the classification we’re supposed to be in. If we’re supposed to play AAAAA, that’s fine, but not having AAAAA numbers and playing there is not real good.”
Projected numbers are used to classify only schools that have undergone rezoning or other changes that would significantly affect enrollment. Most schools use the enrollment totals from spring and fall of a calendar year and average them.
Projections, Nix said, are not “real-live” students. And projections are subject to change month to month.
Houston County school board officials were not available on Friday, when school was closed because of inclement weather, and won’t return until Tuesday. Monday is a Houston County schools holiday.
GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin is out of town until Tuesday. He told GHSF Daily that he would comment upon his return.
Swearngin released this statement last week:
“A called meeting of the GHSA Executive Committee has been requested due to concerns by some Committee members about the recent by-law interpretations (concerning reclassification). The agenda for this meeting will be limited to a discussion of the GHSA reclassification process in general, and the recent decisions of the Houston County Board of Education specifically.”
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