By: Meredith Baker | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: January 29, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – The Prince George County School Board has voted to fund two additional slots at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School and two slots at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for the upcoming school year.
That brings the total slots for freshmen up to three for ARGS and two for Maggie Walker, which are the standard number of slots the division tries to fund each year. The move comes in response to the fact that there was slated to be only one opening at ARGS and no openings at Maggie Walker for rising ninth-graders. Board Member Rob Eley commented on the importance of the board’s decision, saying that students from Prince George are still Prince George students when they go to a governor’s school.
“This is big for our division, to make sure our kids of Prince George County have the same opportunity as other localities to further their education,” Eley said.
Citizens Kimberly Meza and Alvin Crowder, both of whom are parents of current or former governor’s school students, spoke at the board meeting in favor of adding slots for rising ninth-graders. Crowder said that students work hard for the chance to go to Appomattox Regional Governor’s School.
“This is something a lot of these kids look forward to,” Crowder said. “It’s an opportunity that they should be afforded.”
Meza said she feels that students should have the chance to compete for the different kind of experience that governor’s schools offer.
“I just want each class level to be given that option that has been advertised for each group, whether it’s Maggie Walker, ARGS, or CodeRVA, and let them fight it out,” Meza said.
The division would have normally funded twelve slots at ARGS and eight slots at Maggie Walker in any given year. Because of adjustments made when students moved into or out of the county, all eight Maggie Walker slots and eleven ARGS slots were already filled by rising tenth- through twelfth-graders. The division is required to pick up the cost of tuition for current governor’s school students who move into the county, but, in the past, the division has also offered a new slot to a ninth-grade student whenever a tenth-through twelfth-grade student moved out of the county.
According to Willie Elliott Jr., the director of gifted education and Title I, if the empty slots had been left open, the division would have still paid the tuition for those slots but would not have been faced with a shortage.
“This situation was created by filling open spots as students moved out of the division,” Elliott said.
There will be 14 total students from Prince George at ARGS and 10 at Maggie Walker for the upcoming school year. The board’s action only applies to the upcoming year’s entering freshman class, but the board plans to revise its policy in the future so that the issue will not arise again.