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Members of the Harrisonburg School Board, as well as the public, will receive a number of updates at a meeting tonight.

One of the biggest topics for the School Board is the status of the city’s second high school, commonly referred to as HHS2. City staff did not include funding for the high school in its proposed budget, presented to City Council last week.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Michael Richards will recommend the School Board use federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to begin the project. The school division is expecting just shy of $12 million in federal relief funds, which could be used to fund construction of the new school.

Richards will update the board on these developments.

In addition, the School Board will receive an update on the construction of outdoor classroom space at each of the city schools. Coming into the school division two years ago, Richards planned to incorporate outdoor learning spaces into the school division’s comprehensive plan.

However, the pandemic, and the need for social distancing and the outdoors being ideal for spacing and ventilation, sped up the process for getting these spaces underway.

Each school will look a bit different in how they approach outdoor learning spaces. Each campus is different and officials will work to maximize the spaces they have on school grounds.

The School Board will hear an update on the progress of these spaces. Officials hope the spaces will be constructed enough to be used for summer school. Each school has a different phased plan depending on how many outdoor structures officials hope to build and how costly and time intensive they will be to construct.

The School Board will also receive an update on the school resource officer program.

HCPS staff informed the board at a recent meeting that the School Resource Officer Redesign Task Force needs more time to complete its work, and staff would extend the current memorandum of understanding that HCPS has with the Harrisonburg Police Department until later in the summer. Staff plan to extend the MOU until Aug. 2.

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @DNR_Learn

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