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Schools to be placed in new regions today

The five local high schools likely learn their new region assignments for the 2016-2018 school year cycle today as the GHSA meets in Thomaston.

The Georgia High School Association Executive Committee will release preliminary region assignments today following the meeting. Schools will then have an opportunity to appeal their placement before the new regions are finalized. A few weeks ago, the Georgia High School Association released the classification assignments for all Georgia schools and allowed schools to appeal or opt for a higher classification. That process has now completed and today the business of assigning schools to their 2016-2018 regions begins.

All five local schools will remain in their current (2014-16) classification assignments for the 2016-18 school years.

Woodland and Cass will remain in Class AAAAA, Cartersville will remain in Class AAAA, Adairsville will be in Class AAA, and Excel will be in Class A.

Loren Maxwell, author of the popular Maxwell ratings projected Cass and Woodland to be placed in a region together along with Ridgeland, Southeast Whitfield and Kell. Maxwell used relative distance between schools and the other criteria the GHSA commonly uses to determine regions. One of those being schools in the same school district remain together.

Maxwell's other projections included Cartersville in a region with Cedartown, Gilmer, Heritage (Catoosa), Lafayette, Northwest Whitfield, and Pickens.

The most controversial of Maxwell's projections for local schools has Adairsville in a region with Bremen, Cedar Grove, Douglass, Haralson County, Lovett, Marist, Rockmart, and Westminster. Maxwell chose that placement over the region more similar to Adairsville's current group that would include Calhoun, Coahulla Creek, Fannin, Gordon Central, Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe, Murray County, North Murray, Ringgold, and Sonoraville. Maxwell only projected regions for football schools, so the article did not project a region for Excel Christian Academy.

For this next reclassification cycle, the GHSA has created a new classification for the state’s largest schools. The move creates an eighth state championship classification for most sports. The GHSA also implemented a new rule during this reclassification cycle that forced schools receiving greater than 3 percent of their student body from outside the school’s own county lines to move up one classification. The rule impacted many private schools like Blessed Trinity, Pace Academy, Marist, Westminster, Lovett, Greater Atlanta Christian and Woodward Academy as you would expect. The rule also impacted a few independent (city) schools like Buford, Bremen, and Jefferson.

Several schools including Crisp County, Thomasville, Vidalia, Early County, Heard County, Armuchee, Social Circle, and others with out-of-county populations greater than 3 percent appealed their placement in a higher classification caused by the new rule and won. That allowed those schools to remain in a classification with schools of their own actual size instead of being forced up one class by the “out-of-county percentage rule.”

Thomas County Central was the largest school (1474 students) to win such an appeal. The south Georgia school has an out-of-county student body makeup of 5.5 percent. The list of schools volunteering to play in a higher classification are: Pace Academy (A to AAA); B.E.S.T. Academy (A to AA); Groves, Johnson (Sav.), McNair, Savannah, and Union County (AA to AAA); Henry County and Marist (AAA to AAAA); Carver (Atl.), Columbia, Decatur, Hampton, Morrow, Riverdale, and Southwest DeKalb (AAAA to AAAAA); plus Forest Park, Mt. Zion (Jonesboro), M.L. King, and Stephenson (AAAAA to AAAAAA).

Bartow Sports Zone will share the new region placements as the information becomes available.

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