By MIKE WILLIAMS
Pulaski County High School appears headed for a drop from Class 4 athletics to Class 3, under the plan being recommended by the VHSL Alignment Committee.
The change in classification would begin with the 2023-24 school year.
According to Mike McCall, Director of Communications for the Virginia High School League, the school ADM (average daily membership) figures used to place schools in each class are from March 31, 2022.
According to the ADM figures, Pulaski County would be tied as the third largest school in Class 3 – following Hopewell (898), Heritage of Newport News, (894) and Culpeper County and PCHS (893).
ADM figures show the smallest Class 4 school to be Loudoun Valley with an ADM of 900.
The alignment committee plan places 53 schools in Class 3 with 13 schools each in Regions A, B and D, while Region C has 14.
Along with Pulaski County in Region D are Abingdon, Bassett, Carroll County, Cave Spring, Christiansburg, Hidden Valley, Lord Botetourt, Magna Vista, Northside, Staunton River, Tunstall and William Byrd.
Dropping to Class 3 means Pulaski County would no longer face regional playoff contests against the likes of Salem, Jefferson Forest, Amherst, George Washington, James Wood, Blacksburg and Halifax who all would remain in Class 4.
The alignment committee proposes no changes to the existing River Ridge District, which includes Class 3 PCHS, Cave Spring (790), Christiansburg (834) and Hidden Valley (616) along with Class 4 Salem (960) and Class 6 Patrick Henry (1530).
The committee’s regional and district proposals – if approved – would be in effect from the 2023-24 school year through 2026-27.
According to McCall, if a school wishes to appeal its placement, it must submit its appeal in writing to the VHSL office no later than Monday, Aug. 8 and include the justification/rationale for the appeal.
He said guidelines to consider appeals include, but are not limited to:
One percent above or below the class cutoff
Support from the region that the school is requesting to join.
Undue hardship on school – including geography, financial hardships such as transportation, class time, etc.
Aug. 15 is the deadline for schools to submit an opposition to an appeal.
Pulaski County has no plans to appeal its re-classification to Class 3.
“PCHS does not plan to appeal our placement,” said Scott Vest, PCHS Athletics Director.
“The placement in Class 3 is in line with our current student enrollment and won’t have any impact on our membership in the River Ridge District. The move to Class 3 will certainly help with travel for region playoffs as our region will stretch from Abingdon through the New River and Roanoke Valley’s and down toward Southside (Bassett, Magna Vista, Tunstall). I think this move will allow us to compete with schools of similar size and demographics.”
The Appeals Committee will meet Aug. 23 to hear any appeals from other schools and to recommend the final alignment plan to the Executive Committee.
The final alignment plan will be decided on Sept. 21.