GHSA’s highest class could expand to 64 schools

ajc.com

The Georgia High School Association’s reclassification committee voted Thursday to keep the 3.0 out-of-zone enrollment multiplier for the next reclass cycle and will decide next month on a proposal to add 18 schools to the highest classification.

Using enrollment numbers for the current classification, schools that would’ve landed in a 64-school high class this year include Blessed Trinity, Houston County, Rome and Gainesville. They currently are in Class 6A, one from the highest.

Which schools might actually move up won’t be known until late October or early November, when the GHSA receives current enrollment figures.

Thursday’s meeting, held in Thomaston, represents the start of the reclassification process that will put schools in classes for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. It began with reminders from GHSA executive director Robin Hines that the GHSA will have one fewer class starting next year, as voted on in March. Class 7A will go away, and 6A will be the highest.

Hines also pointed out a new rule that says any student who has attended a feeder school to a member high school since fifth grade no longer will count as out-of-zone. That will dilute the impact of the 3.0 multiplier that launched many private and city schools into higher classifications in the current reclass cycle.

The proposal that would increase the size of the highest class will be debated. It was expected to expand with one fewer class, but the question is how much.

There are 46 schools currently in Class 7A. GHSA associate director Don Corr proposed a six-class plan (actually seven classes if Class A’s divisions I and II are counted as two) that would put 64 football-playing schools in 6A and 60 in the other classes.

The highest class traditionally has been smaller than the others to account for greater enrollment disparities between the largest schools, at more than 3,500 students, and the smallest, at around 2,000.

Other schools that would’ve fallen into 64-school highest class this year are Alexander, Douglas County, East Paulding, Etowah, Lakeside-DeKalb, Newnan, North Atlanta, North Forsyth, Paulding County, Rockdale County, Shiloh, South Cobb, South Paulding and Tift County.

Class assignments are appealable. During the most recent reclass, Woodward Academy and St. Pius fell into the highest class but won appeals to be in 6A.

Hines said he hoped to have reclassification finished mid-December. The next reclass meeting is Oct. 1.