ELKTON — Students in Rockingham County Public Schools would be shuffled around to different schools to alleviate space concerns and the division may close an elementary school over the next few years.
That was the plan laid out Monday as the division held its first of five informational meetings about possible redistricting in the Spotswood area at the Elkton Area Community Center.
It was a packed house with about 200 people in attendance. The presentation on student population growth and potential solutions was given by Superintendent Oskar Scheikl.
Due to population growth in the urban development area east of Harrisonburg, one school is overcapacity while another one is getting close.
Montevideo Middle School is overcrowded, and Spotswood High School is nearing capacity.
Currently, Montevideo is overcapacity by 28 students and Spotswood has room for another 33.
Scheikl has been working with county development to extrapolate population for the next five years. It is estimated that Montevideo Middle will have 150 more students by 2025 and Spotswood High School will have 200 more.
“This is something we have to address now,” Scheikl said.
Scheikl said a decision about redistricting will come in January, which is when scheduling begins for the next school year.
Scheikl said the school division must be a good steward of taxpayer money, and it doesn’t make fiscal sense to expand buildings when redrawing lines would not cost the division much money.
The recommendation by Scheikl and senior staff is to move 580 students from the Spotswood district to the East Rockingham district this summer.
During summer 2021, the recommendation is to move 21 Plains Elementary School students and 15 John C. Myers Elementary School students to Fulks Run Elementary School, and 67 students from Mountain View Elementary School and 33 John Wayland Elementary School students to Ottobine Elementary School.
Another big change that could come is the closure of Linville-Edom Elementary School after the 2020-21 school year.
“Those are the kinds of conversations we’ve had,” Scheikl said, adding that the decision involves transportation and many moving parts. “This is our recommendation to the board and our recommendation to the public.”
Scheikl said he hasn’t had any conversations about the possibility of grandfathering in the oldest students at each building level — rising fifth, eighth and 12th graders.
The additional meeting dates will be:
Nov. 25 — Grottoes Community Room
Dec. 9 — Broadway Community Center
Jan. 27 — Keezletown Ruritan Hall
Feb. 10 — Bridgewater Town Hall