After a summer of financial angst and sweeping budget cuts across three of York County's school districts, a new school year begins today.
Rock Hill, Fort Mill and York schools dealt with multimillion-dollar budget shortfalls by enacting a variety of cuts including sending employees on unpaid leave and clipping jobs.
Rock Hill and Fort Mill also laid off employees and started charging families to enroll students in school and in extracurricular activities.
Clover schools aren't facing the same shortfalls. Officials there believe tax revenue from the Catawba Nuclear Station on Lake Wylie and lake-front homes coupled with nearly a decade of conservative spending are keeping them comfortable.
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As thousands of students head back to class today, here are five things you can expect:
1 - Larger classes
Many classrooms are expected to be filled with more students.
Over the summer Rock Hill schools cut more than 30 teaching jobs; Fort Mill schools lost 27.
That means remaining teachers will have more students in class.
On average, class sizes in Rock Hill and Fort Mill are expected grow by one to three students. York schools don't expect an increase. Some classes could pick up as many as five additional students.
Last school year, the average elementary class size in York County schools ranged from 20 to 25 students; middle school, 19 to 25; high school, 23 to 27.
Educators worry that could hurt their efforts to reach all students.
"That, to me, is going to be huge," said Annette Chinchilla, principal at Riverview Elementary in Fort Mill. "That's going to impact every child and every teacher ... You're talking about behavior - interruptions, disruptions ... You don't really realize how your child is impacted until he or she is in a class with 28 or 30 other kids."
2 - Traffic
Roads in the morning and afternoon will be more crowded, especially around school zones.
The York County Sheriff's Office, which plans to have more patrols in those areas during the first two weeks of school, offers safety tips:
When driving through a school zone, be aware. The speed limit decreases and children might be walking along the road.
Look out for school buses, which flash red and yellow lights when stopping to pick up or drop off students. If you're driving behind a school bus that stops to pick up or drop of students, stop.
However, an amendment to state law that took effect this month no longer requires drivers on a multi-lane highway - two lanes on each side running in opposite directions - to stop for a school bus on the opposite side of the road.
School bus routes must be designed so that passengers don't have to cross a multi-lane roadway to get on or off a bus.
The fine for illegally passing a stopped school bus is up to $1,000 and 30 days in jail.
3 - Furloughs
During the school year, educators have work days when students stay home while teachers go in for professional development training or to tabulate grades.
But this year, educators must take unpaid leave on those days.
York and Rock Hill teachers will take five furlough days, while Fort Mill teachers take four.
All other employees in those districts must take twice as many days, which the law requires of districts that furlough. Schools will be closed on furlough days.
4 - Fees
Going to public school in Rock Hill and Fort Mill is growing more expensive.
Both districts are charging families to enroll students. They're also charging students to take part in extracurricular activities. Rock Hill high school students must now pay to take a driver's education course.
Here's a breakdown, by district:
Academic fee: $25 to enroll a student.
Athletic fee: $50 one-time fee to play as many sports as a student wants in a school year.
Driver's education: $350.
Academic fee: $25 to enroll a student.
Athletic fee: $100 per sport.
Band fee: $100
5 - What's new
While budget cuts mean limited additions, there are a few:
Marc Swygert, formerly an assistant principal at Independence Elementary, is the school's new leader. He was promoted to principal this summer after Mary Chandler-McVann retired.
Anthony Cox, an assistant superintendent for Burke County, N.C., schools, is the newest employee in the district's central office. The school board hired Cox over the summer as an associate superintendent overseeing finances. He succeeds Bill Mabry, who retired.
Clover's alternative school, formerly known as Knox School, has been renamed Blue Eagle Academy to coincide "with its new location and an expanding future." Students in grades 5-12 who struggle with their studies, attendance or behavior problems are sent to the campus, where they attend either the "alternative program" or the "challenge program."
Bethany Elementary - Calub Courtwright, formerly vice principal at Crowders Creek Elementary, replaces Cathy McCarter, who was promoted to the district's director of special services position.
Clover Middle - Melanie Wall has been promoted from vice principal to principal.
Clover High - Mark Hopkins, who led Clover Middle last school year, is principal, succeeding Tommy Schmolze, who was hired by the Fort Mill school district.
Griggs Road Elementary - Kenda Cook moved from vice principal to principal, replacing Pam Cato, the district's new director of instruction.
Chuck Epps, formerly an associate superintendent who has worked in Fort Mill schools for 27 years, is the district's new leader. He signed a contract to be superintendent for three years at an annual salary of $148,000.
Marty McGinn was promoted from director of secondary education to replace Epps as assistant superintendent. McGinn and her staff also oversee middle and high school education.
Tommy Schmolze, a former principal at Fort Mill Middle and Clover High, is the district's executive director of pupil services, a new position.
Liza McGarity, who oversaw the personnel department for Chester County schools, is Fort Mill's new director of personnel.
York Comprehensive High School has a brand-new campus.
Ninth-graders, who have been attending York Junior High, will join their upperclassmen at the new school. The old campus, built in 1976, is now a middle school.
A $200,000 grant from the Carolina Panthers NFL football team helped pay for York High's stadium, where up to 6,500 people will be able to watch athletic competitions on the running track and artificial turf field.