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Six classification deal still no fix for what ails local schools

POSTED: August 31, 2011 4:00 a.m.

The Georgia High School Association will go to six classifications beginning in the fall of 2012.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, though some of us can remember when there were only four classifications and tend to do so fondly, if only because the state was a little less full of traffic back then.
But six classifications is not a fix for the problem that's hitting local schools -- which, in a word, is travel.
In more words, it's the cost of filling up a school bus to chart kids from here to there and back again, time and time again.

That's the problem.The biggest problem, anyway. Times are tough. Gas is expensive. School systems are having to find ways to save their nickles and dimes.

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Football is one game a week, so it's not the issue.Football also makes money, or should.

The issue is softball, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, wrestling -- those mostly nonrevenue sports so popular with so many -- because they usually include up to two or three contests a week.
During the regular season, that can either be affordable or a headache, depending on the region a local school finds itself in. There've been times when half the teams or more in Richmond Hill High School's region were from Augusta.
That's a lot of travel, especially during the postsesaon tournaments when teams can be forced to play on back-to-back-to-even-back nights.
But it gets worse when state rolls around and sectionals are held hours away.
It's one reason a lot of local school officials are looking at ways to make life less expensive on taxpayers and easier for kids (and adults too).It's a reason why before too long you may see schools shorten schedules or combine trips or do whatever will work to limit the amount of time their teams spend on the road.

There's also the question of fairness.

Are teams that have to ride in a school bus four or five hours one way to get to a gym or field at a disadvantage when they face teams who don't have to take that long bus ride?
If the burden of long bus rides were fairly shared, I'd say no. But when South Georgia and the coast continually get hit with the long bus rides ...

Yeah, it's unfair.

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