It was back to school in Pender County Wednesday and some newly renovated schools should alleviate the county's overcrowding problem. Students and teaches moved into the newly renamed and renovated Topsail Middle School. "We were 740 students when we ended the school year last year in very tight facility. We used every available space,” said Principal James Klingensmith. Now, space isn't an issue. Much needed dollars were poured into the former Topsail High School to renovate the building and build additions to alleviate overcrowding in the county. On the first day, enrollment came in just shy of 800 students for a school that can hold 900. The middle school move allowed others to move in to the old Topsail Middle School. Two schools, North Topsail and South Topsail merged into one to create the new Topsail Elementary School. "There was over crowding at both schools; there was 700 plus at each school so we have tried to start this new school and still maintain neighborhoods,” said Topsail Elementary Principal. Students and teachers alike are seeing this first day as a positive one even with budget cuts forcing many to do more, with less. Right now the county is down eleven teacher assistant positions and a number of teaching slots that are vacant due to budget cuts. After 10 days in session, administrators will reevaluate to see if reserve money should be used to hire more teachers.
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