Montgomery County bringing students back four days a week starting next month

The first meeting went until nearly 1 a.m. The second meeting brought a vote, but also heated discussion and downright bickering as well.

CHRISTIANSBURG, VA. – Students in Montgomery County schools will be back in the classroom four days a week starting in March.

On Tuesday night, the school board approved moving to the next phase on a split vote, 4-3, after initially delaying the vote in a meeting that went until nearly 1 a.m. earlier this month.

Tuesday’s vote came after about three hours of discussion and some outright bickering amongst school board members. The vote split the board four to three on the second night of discussion.

Jamie Bond, Gunin Kiran, Dana Partin, and Marti Graham all voted in favor of the plan, while Mark Cherbaka, Penny Franklin, and Sue Kass voted against it.

Franklin felt the year should finish as is and the division should make any changes when school starts back up in the fall.

“We will have learned some good lessons from dealing with this, but I just don’t think moving forward because we have to keep moving forward is a thing that we have to do,” said Franklin.

The board delayed the vote earlier this month to allow time for a community survey for parents, students and staff. The dissenting board members argued that the majority of teachers voted against moving to the next phase of in-person teaching.

“Beyond the expert opinions of these teachers, I think to push that aside for no good reason I think is already causing morale issues and we’re just going to exacerbate our problems down the road,” said Cherbaka.

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