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Rockingham County school board continues growth discussion due to anticipated urban development

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:31 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - With urban development areas (UDAs) growing in parts of Rockingham County, that means more students going to schools, so on Monday, Rockingham County school board members continued to discuss the future of county schools.

This is not a new topic to board members who years ago went through the redistricting process to ease overcrowding in some areas of the county.

But Superintendent Dr. Oskar Scheikl said there is not an urgent need, but they continue to have these early conversations to avoid a rushed decision down the line.

Scheikl said on Monday night the board discussed a number of options that could potentially be considered to address growth, especially in the eastern region of the county.

He said those options could include moving students to other schools in the county, expanding existing schools, moving eighth-grade students up to high school, or possibly building an additional high school in the eastern region.

In the case of a new high school, he said Spotswood High School could become a middle school and Montevideo Middle School could become another elementary school.

“As we look at growth long-term, like a decade out, development in the county, where do we anticipate it happening? What would those numbers be and which scenario should we even consider?” Scheikl said. “Those would all be a part of a public conversation to decide what the best path forward is long-term, but there is no immediate pressure. We’re not looking at overcrowded schools at this point.”

He said at Monday’s meeting, they were looking to gauge the school board member’s thoughts.

“We just wanted to see what board members’ response was and whether we should include options in the potential planning... No commitments to doing anything, just a scenario being included in our investigation and planning efforts,” Scheikl said. “Over the next few months, we will work with the county’s planning staff and decide what the expectations and increase of housing in areas will be.”

Scheikl said board members also discussed getting students back to school this fall, recovering from the pandemic, and what services will be necessary to address the student’s mental and behavioral health needs.

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