With the stroke of the pen Monday, Griffin-Spalding County School System Superintendent Jesse Bradley is expected to get the ball rolling on the next two-year extracurricular cycle when he signs off on Griffin High and Spalding High’s full-time equivalency (FTE) counts.
Counts for school districts across the state will be submitted to the Georgia High School Association on the same day.
In short order, the latest counts — from earlier this month — will be combined with the counts from the spring and averaged out to arrive at enrollment numbers that will be used by the GHSA to determine classification for the next two-year cycle.
Counts for Griffin High were 1,591 in March and 1,581 this month. Counts for Spalding High were 1,280 in March and 1,364 this month.
Local school system Administrative Technology Specialist Denise Epperson said the count from earlier this month might change slightly — but no more than a dozen — between now and Monday.
So where does that leave the Griffin and Spalding athletic teams? Probably in the same place they were to begin with, that being Class AAAA for Griffin and Class AAA for Spalding, according to officials at both schools.
The way the GHSA will determine its five classifications is as follows: Schools with an FTE count of 1,850 and higher will play in Class AAAAA, while schools with an FTE count of 525 or less will be placed in Class A. The rest of the schools will be divided evenly into Class AAAA, AAA and AA.
That whole process will be completed by the end of the month, with schools given a two-week period to appeal the validity of the FTE count or a move to a larger classification.
From there, the Reclassification Committee will meet to draw up regions in the middle part of November as coaches, athletic directors and fans eagerly await the outcome. Once again, there will be a two-week period to appeal for a lateral transfer to another region.
Those appeals will be heard by the GHSA Reclassification Committee in the middle part of December. The GHSA Executive Committee will then hold a specially called meeting in early January to hear the appeals from the Reclassification Committee hearing and ratify the reclassification of schools for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.
Officials expect Griffin and Spalding to likely remain in the same subregions, those being Henry County-based Region 4-AAA Division A for Spalding and the Clayton County-based Region 4-AAAA Division A for Griffin.
No one locally expects either region to change a great deal, though an existing region school or two could perhaps move to a higher classification. Such a move would likely to be offset by another school or two moving up a classification only to take their place.
Sullivan is the sports editor a the Griffin Daily News.