Author: Haley Thomas

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School board budget calls for raises of 5% or more

Harrisonburg teachers are in line to get a raise in the proposed budget the school board approved Tuesday and sent to the city council — the only question is how much.

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Budget draft looks ahead to Rocktown High’s opening. Plus, find out what the new school’s mascot will be.

The first draft of the next year’s city school budget calls for a 7.47% increase, mostly to cover effects of inflation and other rising costs, as well as to prepare for the opening of Rocktown High School in fall 2024. 

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Advocates for students with disabilities call on schools for more support

While Harrisonburg City Public School leaders have said they try to build inclusive learning environments for students with disabilities, several city residents at Tuesday’s meeting told school board members that there’s still room for growth.

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Ideas for high schools’ boundaries and sharing of facilities begin to take shape

The group advising the city school system about how the new Rocktown High School can best coexist with Harrisonburg High School suggested cutting a $30 million auditorium from the new school and instead called for incorporating more “state-of-the-art” facilities that could be shared between the two schools. 

Superintendent pledges to propose funding for ways to ease teachers’ burdens

Superintendent Michael Richards told city public school staff in an email Tuesday morning that he will propose money in next year’s budget to fund ways aimed at improving teacher morale in the district. 

Officials investigate ‘non-credible’ threat at high school; Board explores ways to improve teacher morale

School officials and police determined that a threat of a student bringing a gun to Harrisonburg High School on Tuesday morning was “non-credible,” but not before it caused “disruption”and “nervousness,” Superintendent Michael Richards said. Also at Tuesday’s school board meeting, district leaders outlined six ways to help address issues that have sunk teachers’ morale.

Residents and teachers vent to school board about controversial issues and educators being stretched too thin

More than two hours of public comments dominated Tuesday’s Harrisonburg school board meeting as about 20 speakers voiced opinions on several different issues. The jumbling of topics — where one person would talk about working conditions at elementary schools while the next speaker addressed higher suicide rates among LGBTQ+ students followed by another person playing a gospel song to punctuate her point — gave the meeting, at times, the feel of a local political fever dream.

Transgender policies and removing books from schools stoke public debate at meeting

Hours after the first hearing of a lawsuit against Harrisonburg City Public Schools in connection to the district’s policies regarding transgender students, more than 20 Harrisonburg residents passionately expressed support and opposition at the school board’s meeting Tuesday.

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