Originally created 08/06/99

School year to bring lots of changes



Several major changes are in store this year in Richmond County public schools.

The biggest change for elementary and middle school students is the mandatory uniform requirement, passed this summer.

Most elementary and middle school students will wear khaki, navy and white.

The school board also revised the dress code for high school students and middle and elementary school students whose parents don't want them to wear uniforms. Students will be required to dress neatly, and certain clothing and jewelry will not be allowed.

Superintendent Charles Larke said the school board has taken steps that he hopes will ensure a better school year.

"We always hope we will have a better year than last year," Dr. Larke said. "We want to increase achievement and decrease discipline problems and the dropout rate. We hope the things we've put in place -- the uniforms, new dress code and policy on parking permits -- will help us have a better year."

All students who apply for parking permits this year will be subject to random vehicle searches when they park on school property.

In addition to those changes, two new schools are opening this fall.

Cross Creek High School -- the $18 million, 205,000-square-foot building on Old Waynesboro Road -- is the largest school in the Augusta area.

Cross Creek was built to relieve overcrowding at Butler and Hephzibah high schools. About 1,240 students are expected to attend. Seventy percent of the the rising seniors at Butler and Hephzibah who were eligible to attend Cross Creek chose to attend the school instead of staying at their old high schools.

Lake Forest Hills Elementary School also will open at the start of school. The $6 million school, on Lake Forest Drive, combines Lake Forest and Forest Hills elementaries.

Other changes for Richmond County students include:

All high school students will be required to wear and visibly display identification badges.

Pupils who attended Levi White Elementary School will go to Hains Elementary School. A school is being built that will house students from Levi White and Jenkins elementaries. The school is expected to open in the fall of 2001.

Students at Craig Elementary School are moving to 3015 Walton Way, the old Forest Hills Elementary.

Faith Johnson covers education for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (706) 823-3765 or faithj@augustachronicle.com.

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