Fate of New School Up in Air

By: Damon Dillman
By: Damon Dillman

Members of Augusta County's School Board and Board of Supervisors are asking themselves, "What's next?"

The two sides were scheduled to meet this week to discuss whether a new middle school will be built in the county.

The meeting date had been set in July. But, after a 4-3 vote by the school board last week, it's been cancelled.

"The purpose of the meeting was simply for release of information from two sides," said Thom Jennings, one of four school board members who voted to cancel the meeting.

"So if you're not going to have active discussion for a request that is on the supervisors' table, then I didn't see the point in our having a meeting without that discussion."

But school board Chairman Dr. Alan White, who voted in favor of the meeting, says he's worried what kind of impression canceling the meeting gives.

"I was concerned the board of supervisors would use it to say that. We were prepared to move forward with the middle school or the high school projects, but yet the school board wouldn't meet with us," White said.

White says knowing where things stand is very important, because an overcrowding problem in the county schools must soon be addressed.

Jennings pointed out that kindergarten enrollment increased this year in Augusta County. So if not addressed soon, the overcrowding issue could soon become and even bigger problem.

If the middle school project does not move forward, renovating Stuarts Draft and Wilson Memorial high schools is also being considered.

But Augusta County Supervisors Vice-Chairman Thomas Sikes says no matter what the project, the school board needs to make a decision.

"They've got three capitol projects that are on the table right now, the two high schools and the middle school, and they need to make the decision, where their needs are greater," Sikes said.

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