It started nearly a year ago as the Pinellas school district searched for ways to make up for a projected $40 million budget shortfall.
Besides closing six elementary schools, district officials realized they could save money by merging Kennedy Middle with Coachman Fundamental in Clearwater and Madeira Beach Middle with Southside Fundamental in St. Petersburg.
The district also decided to combine Madeira Elementary and Madeira Middle into a K-8 program, prompting parents, children and teachers to wonder how things would look for the 2009-10 academic year.
They'll find out next week when school begins.
From the start, Chris Ateek, principal of the newly created Madeira Beach Fundamental, decided that his school would be a "perfect marriage."
"We're taking the best from three good schools — Madeira Beach Elementary, Madeira Beach Middle and Southside Fundamental — and making one really great school," Ateek said.
"It's all about team building."