On Nov. 25, the Shenandoah County School Board shared its annual Capital Improvement Plan to the Board of Supervisors.
“[The CIP] is a planning document, a way to communicate our capital needs to the board of supervisors,” explained Jeremy Raley, the superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools.
This year, Raley says the plan assigned potential projects a numerical value based on urgency. Among those projects the plan deemed most urgent: repairing the air conditioning systems for Ashby Lee and W.W. Robinson elementary schools.
“We are dealing with equipment that’s over 20 years old, it’s requiring a lot of labor to repair,” he remarked. “We don’t want to be in a situation where it goes bad and we have wait [for it to be fixed].”
Another one of the plan’s top ranked priorities is building a gymnasium for Sandy Hook Elementary, which currently uses the same space for their cafeteria and gym. Pointing out that the school has around 1,000 students, Raley says it’s “creating a burden” on the instructional program.
Now that the Board of Supervisors has been presented with the plan, Raley says it will have months to consider it before taking a vote in the spring. Adding that the group has been supportive of the School Board’s needs in the past, he says he feels “optimistic” that the plan will pass.
Sharon Baroncelli, the supervisor from district four, also hopes the plan will be approved.
“Our students are our future and everyone has the obligation to support our future … They deserve the best education we can provide for them,” she remarked.
Baroncelli — who’s retiring at the end of December — says she’s concerned the incoming supervisors are so focused on budget cuts, that education may not be the priority.
“[The education system] needs help and I don’t see that coming with next year’s board,” she said.
Cindy Bailey, the supervisor elect for district four, says that she does intend to go “line by line” through every department’s budget, but has no intention of cutting “core services.”
“I have been advocating for school repairs for a couple of years now,” she added.
However, she hopes the Board of Supervisors will become more involved with how the school board spends its allotted funds.
“We need to take a step back and look at being more efficient at seeing where the money goes.”
Contact Katie King at (540) 574-6271 or firstname.lastname@example.org