After two decades of talking about it, two local schools closing in on merger

Covington and Alleghany County merger votes over the next two weeks

It's history in the making as Alleghany County and Covington City schools systems could soon be merging after nearly two decades of attempts.

COVINGTON, Va. – There could be a consolidated school system in the Alleghany Highlands after nearly two decades of talk and failed attempts to make it happen.

There’s a plan on the table to merge Alleghany County and Covington schools and it could be final in just two weeks.

Jacob Wright with the consolidation committee said they’re close to the finish line.

“We’ve done a lot of homework to try to develop an equitable plan to offer our students more opportunity while using our local and state dollars more efficiently,” Wright said.

On Thursday night a few people joined the committee in an auditorium at Covington High School and online for a question and answer session. Wright said it’s important to talk it out because there’s a lot to cover.

“A lot of this process, there were a lot of assumptions made in the community and different things because we hadn’t made firm decisions but now we’ve issued a report,” Wright said.

The report is hundreds of pages long, going into detail about buildings, financials and more.

Some parents like John Littleton said what’s best for the kids is best for them.

“That it could get children in our area and it give our industry and business in the area more opportunities,” Littleton said.

One committee member was opposed to the plan, but all others favored it. Now each individual school board, Covington City Council, and the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors need to approve it.

Votes are scheduled for the next two weeks. Alleghany County’s school board will vote on September 9, Covington’s school board on September 10. Covington City Council and Alleghany County Board of Supervisors will vote on Sept. 15.

With members from those boards on the committee, Wright feels confident about getting it done.

“They’ve really kept their boards informed the whole time and I feel like the boards have a positive feeling of what’s going on and we’ll hope for the best,” Wright said.

If approved, the plan would not take effect for another few years.