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Halifax school board supports combo districts

The Halifax County School Board adopted a resolution Monday night to support a Virginia High School League plan for a combination/neighborhood district alignment for athletic contests for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Such an alignment, school officials say, will reduce the amount of lost instructional time for student athletes and cut travel costs associated with Halifax County High School’s athletic programs.

An error in the listing of Halifax County High School’s enrollment appeared to have possibly unraveled a proposal last month by the Virginia High School League’s Redistricting and Reclassification Committee to place Halifax County High School into a combination/neighborhood district for athletic contests.

The R&R Committee proposed placing Halifax County High School, GW of Danville, and current Group AA Piedmont District schools Martinsville High School, Tunstall High School and Patrick County High School into a new five-team Piedmont District.

GW, which is currently a Group AAA school, has undergone a decline in enrollment in recent years and has fallen into Group AA status.

In addition, the committee proposed creating a new Western Valley District that will include Franklin County High School of Rocky Mount, William Fleming High School, Patrick Henry High School of Roanoke and current Group AA Piedmont District schools Magna Vista High School and Bassett High School.

However, unknown to members of the R&R Committee at the time, Halifax County High School’s enrollment was incorrectly listed at 1,383 students on the VHSL’s school enrollment sheet.

Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph noted that the school and the school board reported the school’s correct figure of 1,702 students to the State Department of Education, but that somehow the wrong number was listed on the enrollment sheet used by VHSL R&R Committee members in their consideration of the proposed districts.

Since that time, the VHSL Executive Committee has directed the R&R Committee to come up with a new plan, a plan that would have four, five, or possibly six classifications, as opposed to the three classifications currently in use by the VHSL.

“The current plan is on the back burner at this time,” Halifax County High School Athletic Director Allen Lawter said yesterday.

“We were told that schools will be placed in their proper classification at the next R&R Committee meeting, which will be held in early February.”

Lawter said he is very interested in seeing what kind of plan the R&R Committee will come up with.

“I’m intrigued with the idea of multiple classifications,” he remarked.

“I think they (VHSL officials) are willing to try to help with the travel issues. What we want is to see the VHSL go to more classifications and move more towards neighborhood districts. We wanted the school board’s support for that.”

For now, all Halifax County High School officials can do is wait.

“Until they meet in February, we’ll just have to wait and see what the R&R Committee does,” Lawter said.

“What the R&R Committee needs to do now is work out the details.”