LOW MOOR — State money to support a merger of Alleghany County and Covington schools is still being considered by the Virginia General Assembly.

With lawmakers in Richmond continuing to meet in an extended session, House and Senate versions of amendments to the state budget differ on the amount of money to help support the proposed merger.

The House version of the budget contains $582,000 per year for five years. The Senate version proposes $600,000 per year.

Del. Terry Austin, R-Buchanan, had filed a budget amendment in the House seeking $1.5 million a year.

Differences between the House and Senate amounts will be ironed out by a conference committee, said Keven Rice, director of finance for Alleghany County Public Schools.

Rice provided the Alleghany County School Board with an update on the merger funding Monday night.

Also on Monday, the board voted 6-0 to loan Alleghany County $25,000. The money will pay for consulting services related to the merger.

Jacob Wright, chairman of the school board, said the school division will be reimbursed when grant funding is received.

“This is a grant that we have applied for to be used for this consultant and we will loan the county the money until the grant arrives,” Wright said.

In 2019, the General Assembly approved $400,000 to cover studies and professional services needed to develop a school-merger plan. Wright said not all of that money has been spent.

Wright is co-chairman of a Joint School Services Committee that has developed the merger proposal.

The plan calls for the Covington and Alleghany County school divisions to merge administratively in July 2022.

Students would begin attending the joint division in the 2023-2024 school year. But that is contingent upon state funding.

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