Class sizes up slightly as new school year begins in Polk County

Published 5:28 pm Thursday, August 27, 2009

Second graders head to computer lab (below) on the first day of school at Tryon Elementary School. (photo by Leah Justice)&bsp;That number likely will climb over the next several days as it usually does at the start of the school year. The district will report its official enrollment to the state based on attendance through the first 10 days. Last year the district&squo;s 10-day enrollment was 2,622 with pre-K students.

Because of state budget cuts, Polk County has a little less staff this year. The county did not replace teachers who retired and eliminated some support staff positions.

Supt. Miller said schools opened with few problems on Monday other than some of the usual first-day issues, such as coordinating bus travel.

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This year the school district has the added challenge of getting students to after school programs offered at Harmon Field or at Stearn&squo;s Gym.

The programs were created by Harmon Field and the Polk County Recreation Department to give students a place to go and participate in academic and enrichment activities. Polk County Schools is not offering its own after school program this year because the district was unable to secure a grant to continue the programs, and it won&squo;t learn for another month or more whether it received a new grant it requested for such programs.

Both Stearn&squo;s and Harmon Field are on existing bus routes so buses are able to take students to those locations, says Supt. Miller.