Sunday, June 26, 2005

Staunton: A City that Wants More School-Age Students

The city of Staunton is enjoying a residential revival, with 1,600 new residential units coming online. School administrators are excited because they are expecting 600 new students, bolstering the ranks of the declining school population -- only 2,610 last year.

The News Virginian quotes school superintendent Harry Lunsford: "We would actually welcome some additional students because it is difficult to budget each year for our state funding. We're anxious to see some positive growth and economic development that will hopefully attract some families with children."

Although the News Virginian doesn't say so, benefits accrue also to Augusta County, which is relieved of the pressure of accommodating those 1,600 additional units and 600 additions students. When you consider that Augusta Countyalso doesn't have to provide extra water, sewer, roads, police service, fire service, rescue service, etc., to serve these residents in scattered, low-density subdivisions, it's a win-win-win all around.

Moral of the story: It makes financial sense for public policy to encourage the infill and redevelopment of Virginia's older urban areas. Infill and redevelopment can't take all the pressure off Virginia's growth counties, but it can take off a lot.


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