Augusta School Board Decides to Keep Middle Schools Throughout County

Posted: Updated:

A school board meeting in Augusta County started out talking about capital projects, but ended up deciding the future of middle schools in the county.

At just a few years old, Wilson Middle School in Fishersville is bursting at the seams while one of the county's oldest pod schools is suffering from numerous electrical issues.

"Those kids up there are struggling with having enough places to plug their computers in,” said Nick Collins, school board member.

A facility study presented to the school board Thursday night put a price tag on some fixes to these problems - totaling around $50 million. It included renovations at Riverheads Elementary School versus a brand new building, additional classrooms at Wilson Middle School and middle school additions to Riverheads and Buffalo Gap highschools.

But the board only has about $21 million to spend.

One thing school board members say they're not willing to do is retire the middle school system in the western half of the county - something supervisor Tracy Pyles is urging the board to consider.

"We have looked at this for a year and it's time to end it,” said Dana Sensabaugh, school board member.

"I want everybody to know in Craigsville that they don't have to have grades six and seven in their school to keep it open. There are no plans to close your school,” said John Ocheltree, school board member.

A motion to keep middle schools throughout the county passed unanimously. School board members say it comes down to equity.

"We have got a system that we can offer equal educational opportunities to the student that lives in the western part of the county just like the student that lives in the eastern part of the county,” said Collins.

School board members say they have some difficult decisions to make about their capital needs projects.