Highland County Officials Meet With State Education Group To Discuss Future Of School System
Monterey, VA – Virginia state Secretary of Education, Laura Fornash, sent a delegation of education experts to Monterey on Monday, December 5, to meet with Highland School representatives and county officials to discuss the problems facing the school system. Board of Supervisors chairman Robin Sullenberger attended the meeting and made a report to the other Supervisors at their meeting last week.
“We had a return visit yesterday from the state education folks and this was a larger and more comprehensive group in terms of their outlook and their specific areas of expertise,” says Sullenberger. “This was a follow up to a previous meeting we had,”, “in regard to looking at options for sustainability for the school system knowing that we’re facing the potential for some very dire consequences with our school numbers and our funding.”
The school enrollment has dropped to 203 students this year and is projected to decline further over the next 5 years. Supervisor Sullenberger continues his summary of the meeting.
“There were people at this meeting that had a lot of new ideas and have done a lot of research on our behalf,” he says. “Delegate Bell was there, made it very clear that he will do anything he can to help us and we will be doing some pretty diligent follow up over the next few weeks. But the real issue is the long term sustainability as opposed to trying to find a short term financial fix, because we all know that changes to the composite index or anything like that are just not going to happen.”
Members of the visiting group will be working to find options for the school to consider over the next few months as a new plan to make the school sustainable takes shape.
“Secretary Fornash called me this morning to give me some feedback and follow up on the meeting,” says Sullenberger. “She was very pleased with what she heard from her people here; particularly pleased that we’re willing to look at any and all options.”
The next regular meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, January 3, at 7:30 PM in the Modular Conference Center in Monterey.