AHPS Board to Discuss Redistricting at April 6 Called Meeting

AHPS Board to Discuss Redistricting at April 6 Called Meeting
Posted on 03/31/2023

LOW MOOR — The Alleghany Highlands School Board will hold a special called meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, 2023, at the Central Office Complex in Low Moor.

Alleghany County’s governmental complex in Low Moor has been designated as a backup meeting location in the event the School Board’s regular meeting location is unavailable. The school board office board room is scheduled to receive necessary maintenance upgrades the first week of April. The work is scheduled to wrap up prior to April 6.    

The meeting will be held to review recommendations on elementary school redistricting that would take effect at the start of the school year in August. The School Board is also planning to hold a public hearing on redistricting. The hearing will be scheduled in conjunction with the board’s regular April business meeting. That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on April 17 at the board’s regular meeting location at 100 Central Circle in Low Moor.

The called meeting on April 6 will help facilitate the public release of the school division’s redistricting proposal. The school division has been working with Transfinder, a New York-based company, to develop the redistricting plan. Redistricting elementary schools is necessary due to the upcoming full consolidation of AHPS schools in the fall. 

The April 6 meeting will allow the public to view the plan. It will also be available on the school division’s website, www.ahps.k12.va.us, shortly after the April 6 meeting.

“We want to provide this special update regarding this meeting so that the public is as informed as possible about our redistricting process. It is very important to us all that we share information as transparently and as promptly as possible,” said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS.

“The redistricting efforts are underway to assist the division in efficiently using its instructional and operational resources, such as bus transportation, to meet the needs of students.  Redistricting has been a topic of board discussion since AHPS was initially created in July 2022,” said Halterman and Snead-Johnson. 

Redistricting has been thoroughly discussed by the school board, as referenced on the Feb. 13, 2023 meeting agenda, which can be viewed at www.ahps.k12.va.us

“We want to reiterate to the public that no elementary schools will close as a result of redistricting,” Halterman and Snead-Johnson added. “A major commitment of the consolidation process is that no elementary schools will close as a result of the consolidation.”

At its meeting April 6, the school board may achieve consensus to allow kindergarten registration to proceed while the board deliberates any appropriate redistricting recommendations.  This way, parents in the community may register beginning kindergarteners for school as early as April 13. Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) preschool registrations would begin soon thereafter.

Any redistricting plans will not be finalized on April 6, however.  Rather, the school board will hear public comment on April 17 and then determine its plan for accepting or rejecting any proposal by a vote.  In short, the school board may accept, reject, or modify plans presented April 6 between April 6 and such time at which the board would take a formal vote.  

Citizens interested in this topic are encouraged to review materials posted on the school division’s website on or about April 6 regarding redistricting and to consider public comment as appropriate at the public hearing on April 17.  An online form will also be available at that time through which persons may share their thoughts about any redistricting plan.  The AHPS School Board does not typically include public comment in special called school board meetings; again, the public is encouraged to comment via the public hearing April 17 and/or by the online form that will be released April 6 on the school division website.  

Alleghany Highlands Public Schools was created through the July 1, 2022, merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. Jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington, the school division serves approximately 2,700 students.

School division news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools, and the division website, www.ahps.k12.va.us. 

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