A plan for combining Alleghany County and Covington schools will be revisited by the Virginia Board of Education on Jan. 28.
Covington Mayor Tom Sibold and Matt Garten, chairman of the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors, issued a statement Tuesday to update the public on developments surrounding the proposed merger.
The merger plan was approved by the local governments in September and it is now being reviewed by the Virginia Board of Education. A second and final review is expected to take place at the board’s Jan. 28 meeting. If that occurs, attention will shift to the Virginia General Assembly for funding that
would cover teacher-salary equalization and other areas of the merger plan.
“We optimistic that the board will approve our plan and we’ll move on to the next step, which is seeking the required funding assistance from the General Assembly,” Sibold and Garten said.
The merger plan was developed by a Joint School Services Committee, which has representation from the county and city. An executive committee continues to meet on a regular basis to assess the needs for the proposal to move forward.
Sibold and Garten said the executive committee has discussed advice it has received from experts, implementing suggestions it has received from the Board of Education and maintaining communications with representatives in Richmond.
“We’re working closely with our advisors to ensure we’re ready to begin the work of building an area-wide school division once the state approves our plan and appropriations have been completed,” Sibold and Garten said. “While this process has been slow and the work has not been easy, we believe our efforts today are laying the foundation for a better tomorrow.”
The merger plan calls for the city and county school administration to merge on July 1, 2022. Students would begin attending the joint school division in 2024.
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.