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It seems like summer really just started, but Friday marks the beginning of a brand new school year for thousands of students.

Let’s hope it’s the best one yet.

We wish them a safe, happy and productive school year while reminding readers that Bryan County is lucky to have one of the state’s best school systems. Is it perfect? No.

Can it be better? Of course.

We owe it to our children to continue pursuing academic excellence and give every kid in the county the chance to fulfill their dreams. But that doesn’t change the fact we are fortunate to live in a community where education is not only valued highly, but countless people have worked hard and continue to strive to allow our children a shot at one of the best educations tax dollars can offer.

Indeed, it’s the reputation of our schools that has led to much of this community’s growth.

That growth brings with it challenges. Most obviously it means more kids, which translates into a need for more teachers and classroom space, etc.

Ironically, growth continues to come at a time when our school system, like much of Georgia, is suffering from the economy. State cuts in education have hit many districts hard, though truth is we’ve been more fortunate than many thanks to a historically frugal approach to spending that has kept the system in good financial shape.

We also would be remiss if we didn’t mention the thousands of dollars donated by parent teacher groups each year -- money which goes directly to helping students.

What’s more, rapid growth when times were good allowed Bryan County Schools to go above and beyond in terms of what it offered students.

Those offerings may be pared down this year, though from what we understand school officials have continued to do everything possible to fund the important things and have so far been able to avoid cutting students.

We bring this up to remind those with a vested interest in our schools -- and that is all of us, really -- that for the foreseeable future the days of having abundant resources appears over and hard choices may lie ahead as the Board of Education seeks to balance its budget and keep an ever growing school system operating efficiently. Their’s certainly won’t be an easy task and we wish them well. As they know, their decisions will have a direct impact on the lives of students in more ways than one.

In the meantime, a new school year is about to begin. We urge motorists to keep an eye out for school busses and drive carefully around bus stops.

We urge students to do their best and we hope everyone has a healthy, happy and productive school year.

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