Staunton Schools Could Grow With Development

By: Mike Mueller
By: Mike Mueller

With Staunton's school enrollment down more than 50 students this year, it could use a boost by some extra bodies.

"Right now, we have excess capacity," said City Manager Bob Stripling. "We can add a number of school children and we won't have to expand any of our existing facilities."

But with more than 15,000 residential units being built in the city, that could mean more students and money for the schools.

"We get a portion of funding from the state for those children so that would enhance our budget to some extent," said Staunton's Assistant Superintendent Saray Armstrong.

But too many? That could hinder the budget as well.

"You begin to say I need another fourth grade classroom, I need another special ed classroom," says Armstrong. "When we start needing additional resources because of students then it becomes a bigger budget issue."

But the district says it can handle a few hundred students over the next couple years and still stay under their 20:1 classroom ratio.

"We want to retain what we consider very positive people-teacher ratios which are lower than some of the other areas," said Armstrong.

Studies are underway by the city to see how many students could come to the area. The city doesn't think the number will be too high as they factor in empty nesters and an aging population living in those units as well.

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