Redistricting Plan Approved by School Board

Redistricting Plan Approved by School Board
Posted on 05/10/2023

LOW MOOR — The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division Board has unanimously approved an elementary school attendance zone redistricting plan for the 2023-2024 school year.

The plan was approved on Monday, May 8, 2023, during the board’s regular monthly business meeting. With the full consolidation of AHPS schools coming in the fall, the redistricting plan will assist the division in efficiently providing bus transportation and other services to elementary school students.

The plan was first presented to the public at an April 6 called meeting, but redistricting has been a matter of formal school board meeting conversations since February. The school board approved an amended version of the original proposal after considering feedback it received over the past month. The board also held a public hearing on April 17. Even though a public hearing was not required by Virginia Code, the school board wanted to provide parents and the general public with an opportunity to speak on redistricting before the plan was approved. A feedback form was also available on the district website.

“As a board, we feel like this plan addresses a lot of different challenges and inequities that have faced our region for generations. Educating and busing children to the school that makes the most sense based on where they live rather than whether or not it’s in the county or city is a novel idea in today’s world but, one that truly makes sense for the children of the Alleghany Highlands,” said Jacob Wright, chairman of the AHPS School Board..  

Redistricting will not affect students residing within the City of Covington. All Covington City residents in grades 5 and under will attend Jeter-Watson Elementary School. Some elementary students who reside in Alleghany County and the Town of Clifton Forge will be impacted, however.  Students in the Town of Iron Gate and the Iron Gate Hill area will not be affected. They will continue to attend Sharon Elementary.

Transfinder, a New York-based company regarded as a leader in consultation services for school divisions revising attendance boundaries, assisted the school board and school administrators in developing the redistricting plan. The plan was developed with the goal of assisting AHPS in efficiently using its instructional and operational resources. School officials considered seven options developed by Transfinder before choosing a plan.  

“Our vendor was very responsive to our information and took time to learn about our geography.  While we know no redistricting plan is completely perfect for all circumstances, we are very pleased with the input that led to the development of the plan,” said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS. 

Information considered in the development of the redistricting plan included direct citizen input from the feedback form, proposals from the consultants at Transfinder, and detailed analysis from school division leaders, including leaders who are focused on instruction and on transportation. 

“Importantly, the school board appointed a special committee to help provide a vision for redistricting and ensure that redistricting would meet the overall needs of the school division,” Halterman  and Snead-Johnson said.  

In general, the redistricting plan is summarized as follows:

  • City of Covington students attend Jeter-Watson Elementary School.
  •  Town of Iron Gate and Iron Gate Hill students will continue to attend Sharon Elementary.
  •  Students from the Route 18 area of Alleghany County will attend Jeter-Watson Elementary School.
  •  Sharon Elementary School attendance boundaries expand to encompass areas of Clifton Forge. A section of Ingalls Street that encompasses its intersection with Jefferson Avenue falls within the Sharon Elementary School attendance zone, along with the 1300 blocks of Madison Avenue and Linden Avenue. Students residing in the Fairview Heights section of the town will attend Mountain View Elementary School. 
  •  Callaghan Elementary School’s boundaries expand to include all areas along and west of Route 687, including Clearview Estates and Clearwater Park.

It is important for parents to refer to available maps for precise details about redistricting. These maps are available at Parents with questions about the school zone of a particular address should call the AHPS Bus Garage at (540) 965-1808.   

Parents desiring that their student attend a school outside of their designated attendance zone must follow a required application process that is similar to practices that were used by Alleghany County Public Schools and Covington City Public Schools. A student’s attendance patterns, disciplinary history, and similar factors may be considered when an out-of zone transfer request is made. The required forms are available on the district website.

Students who attend a specific school that provides the resources necessary to meet their special education needs will continue to attend that school. The school division uses an  individualized education plan (IEP) to determine which school best meets the needs of some special education students. However, not all IEPs require students to receive services as a specific school. IEP team decisions impact transportation. Special education transportation is provided regardless of where the student resides as appropriate to the student’s individual situation. 

“We appreciate the time and effort expended to develop the redistricting plan. We encourage families with questions about redistricting to contact their child’s school at their earliest convenience, and families interested in pursuing possible school attendance zone transfers should use the forms posted on the district website to make their request as soon as possible,” said Halterman and Snead-Johnson. “While we must make out-of-zone transfer request decisions on a case-by-case basis, it helps us plan efficiently for families to let the school division know their interests earlier rather than later.”  

The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was established through the July 1, 2022, merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. The school division serves approximately 2,700 students. It is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington.  

School division news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools, and the division website,





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