Hundreds of Students Register Tuesday for Bay District Schools

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PANAMA CITY-- Bay County School District officials say they dealt with the typical first day challenges yesterday, and a few they weren't expecting.

Hundreds of new students showed up to register for classes.

And a larger student population could require the district to hire dozens of new teachers.

"It was all hands on deck yesterday," Hiland Park Elementary School Principal Rhonda Woodward said.

Hiland Park staff worked around the clock on the first of day of school Tuesday, as families poured in to register.

"We gained about 35 new students," Woodward said.

Administrators say this is a district-wide trend

"I did not visit a school yesterday that did not have students registering. It was truly amazing," Superintendent Bill Husfelt said.

Skyler is one of those students.

He and his mother just moved here two months ago.

She says it wasn't a matter of waiting until the last minute.

"Mainly I've been trying to get everything else together - me and him in a stable home and everything else established," his mother, Denise, said.

Husfelt says the district is normally prepared for situations like Skyler's, but not the numbers they've had this fall.

Since the growth is spread consistently across the county, the district will have to hire dozens of additional teachers.

"We won't necessarily have to move teachers from one school to another like we have in the past. That's what we don't want to do," Husfelt said.

The goal is to avoid displacing students and teachers, and to get kids like Skyler into a classroom.

"He needs that social atmosphere. He needs to be in school, meeting new kids and just doing his thing," Denise said.

District officials won't know how many teachers they'll need to hire until they get a more accurate head count after Labor Day weekend.


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