Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

RSS feed of this blog

Teacher raises; Stafford High fields on the agenda for Tuesday night

Tuesday night, Stafford County residents will have the chance to speak out on two hot topics: teacher raises and the Stafford High School rebuild project.

This summer, construction crews will start rebuilding the 37-year-old high school on its existing campus. That work will disrupt several of Stafford High School’s sports teams.

For months, the School Board members have explored options for those teams to continue playing during the three years of construction.

Tuesday night, the board is scheduled to decide which option to pursue. Members seem poised to pick an option that would move football practices to the Gari Melchers Complex off of U.S. 17.

This scenario would send boys and girls tennis teams to play at the University of Mary Washington and the boys lacrosse team to Gayle Middle School.

This option would cost the school division $135,000 in the first year, mainly for creating a locker room and maintaining the fields at the complex and for transportation.

Many Stafford residents wanted the board to pick another option which would call for installing an artificial turf field at the high school.

The turf field would cost about $850,000 and wouldn’t provide a practice space for all of the teams which would be disrupted by the construction, said Scott Horan, director of facilities for the school system.

The athletic fields have become such a subject of debate that School Board Chairwoman Stephanie Jonson fears the discussion will overshadow tomorrow night’s scheduled public hearing on the budget.

The School Board has set two priorities for the fiscal year 2014 budget: giving employees raises and reducing class sizes.

But it remains unclear where they will get the money to make either one happen.

The hearing will be held Tuesday night, Jan. 29, 7 p.m.