Committee answers questions about Covington, Alleghany County schools consolidating

Local News

COVINGTON, Va. (WFXR) – Bringing the schools in the City of Covington and the ones in Alleghany County together as one is something that’s been discussed for years. But now, a decision of whether or not to do it could be made in a matter of weeks.

The committee that is looking into consolidating Covington City Schools with Alleghany County Schools addressed concerns Thursday, Aug. 27.

The Joint School Services committees held a community meeting to answer questions from parents and others interested in the topic.

John Littleton, a parent of an Alleghany County student, says he went to learn more.

“I want to do what’s best for our kids and what’s best for our community,” said Littleton. “If a merger gives more opportunities for our kids to succeed, I’m for that.”

Chairman for the Joint School Services committee, Jacob Wright, says they’ve gotten a lot of questions and concerns from the community, so they thought this would be a good opportunity to address those and explain things.

“I think one of the most important things is that people are actually getting the facts. There are a lot of things that we see on social media, and they’re not necessarily things that the committee has talked about. They are not goals of the committee,” Wright said.

They took questions like, “How long can the local governments continue to afford to operate two school divisions?”

And the committee took turns answering. One member said, “Five or six years down the road, we won’t be able to sustain our system unless we double our taxes or something.”

However, not all committee members are in support of the merger.

“I don’t think that the problem in the City of Covington has anything to do with the schools,” said one woman on the committee. “We lack job opportunities. And that was one of my main things. We’re talking about getting schools together, but if there are no jobs, no one is going to come here.”

Nevertheless, Wright says her views were taken.

“Ms. Hunter has always been against the committee, but she offers a unique angle because she is against it. Everyone has their opinions and she was still invited to every meeting and invited to be a part of everything.”

The next step is for the Covington City Council, Alleghany County Board of Supervisors, and both school boards to hear a presentation on this, hold public hearings, and then vote. That is all expected to take place by the middle of September.

You can see a copy of their report here.

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