The Manassas City Council last week voted to appropriate $6 million over the next three years for school construction, a compromise that apparently means the end to hopes for a new city high school.
"I expect we will end up renovating Osbourn Senior High School," said School Board Chairman Joseph B. Johnson, expressing disappointment that the council did not appropriate the full $11 million the School Board had requested for building a new school.
Because of space problems anticipated at the 29-year-old Osbourn Senior High, the School Board requested money for a new school last fall, but the council was not enthusiastic, primarily because it would have meant a 30 percent increase in real estate taxes.
The $6 million compromise was made possible by an annexation plan recently worked out with Prince William County. Under that plan, Manassas is expected to get $1.5 million from Prince William. Part of the money could be used for construction and renovation of schools, thereby eliminating the need for a large tax hike.
It will be months before the annexation plan is actually in place, however, because the Virginia General Assembly first must pass enabling legislation. But that obstacle has not slowed the School Board, which is planning to meet this week to decide how to use the $6 million to pay for changes at Osbourn Senior High.