Proposed high school football teams

In 2016, 419 of 458 schools in the Georgia High School Association played football, including 91 of the 121 in Class A, the league’s smallest. That’s a far cry from 1960, when in Class C – then the GHSA’s tiniest – 33 of  the 135 schools hit the gridiron.

Everyone had to start somewhere.

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Surrency versus State

When Georgia wanted to overhaul its public schools in the 1950s, it unveiled the Minimum Foundation Program.

The program worked for both state and school systems. School systems got much needed money to upgrade and in exchange, the state got systems to agree to its conditions. Conditions were for equalization of white and black facilities, certain acreage and location of schools and if impartial surveys indicated that a school was small and losing population, there was a good chance Georgia would decree it be closed and consolidate with another.

In some cases, this led to a battle. Rural schools, especially high schools, were occasionally hesitant to lose their status. Systems like Washington County and Elbert County/Elberton city were late to start building programs because of wars over small high schools.

Others readily accepted Georgia’s offer of money and agreed to consolidate, but ultimately did not.

Ten years later, Georgia was not happy with the stragglers.

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