FORT MILL, S.C. -- Thousands of students in South Carolina returned to school Wednesday, including kids in York County.
Just like so many other school districts in the area, York County school districts are dealing with a tight budget this year. In fact, one new school is opening up for the first time, but its classrooms won't be full.
Banks Trail Middle School is slated to hold sixth through eighth graders, but only sixth and seventh graders will attend school this year in order to save money.
"We’re opening with two grades instead of three because of the downturn in the economy the past several years," said Fort Mill Superintendent Dr. Chuck Epps.
"Next year we’ll add the 8th grade in 2012, and have a full 600 students here," he continued.
The school is also opening a year later than originally planned. In 2009 the school board voted to leave the building empty for a year because the district couldn't afford to open and staff it.
Wednesday morning, Banks Trail Middle School faculty welcomed students with red carpet treatment. Balloons surrounded the entrance way, and teachers snapped photos of everyone entering the building for the first time.
"There was music playing and balloons and a red carpet," said 6th grader Sidney Barnhill
"I was excited for all those surprises, and I'm excited that I get to be in a new building, and be one of the first students to open up the school," she continued.
In addition to changes to Banks Trail Middle School to save the district money, all York County schools will allow some high school seniors to drop up to two elective courses to save money this coming school year for the district.
The assistant superintendent for Fort Mill Schools says the district hasn't been able to add enough staff as quickly as the district has grown, which is the reason for the change in policy.