The Virginia Minnesota Public School District is located in beautiful Northeastern Minnesota on the Historic Mesabi Iron Range. The district was officially founded in 1903. However, schools existed in the city of Virginia dating back to 1895. The geographic area of the district is 156.82 square miles or 100,365 acres. The governmental units located within the school district include all or part of the following; the city of Virginia, the townships of Pike, Sandy and Wuori and unorganized areas near Sand Lake as well as a small part of the city of Mountain Iron. This area is made up of some of the most beautiful scenery in the state of Minnesota.
The first Superintendent of Schools was B.H. Wheeler who served from 1897-1898. There have been sixteen superintendents in the history of Virginia Public Schools. The longest serving superintendent, Robert Krebsbach, served from 1973-1994.
The legal name of the school district is Independent School District Number 706, State of Minnesota. By policy, the school board made Virginia Public Schools the official name of the school district.
The 2000 census lists 11,614 residents of the school district. In addition to Native Americans, early settlers to the area were immigrants seeking jobs in the lumber and mining industries. Immigrants came in large waves from Italy, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Croatia and many other European nations. These immigrants gave a flavor to Virginia that is unmatched through out the United States.
Today there are 1580 students enrolled in the Virginia school system. During peak enrollment in the 1970’s there were over 4,000 students. However, since that time families are choosing to have fewer children and the production of iron from taconite needs fewer employees. In recent years, however, the district has attracted many students from neighboring districts due to strong Academic performances as well as in the Arts and Athletics. The district appears to have slowed the decline in enrollment. In addition to open enrollment, the city of Virginia has become a significant shopping area. Tourists visiting the lakes north of Virginia patronize many businesses in the Virginia area. Optimism abounds as many new mining ventures are beginning to take shape in the area. This should help to maintain the enrollment for years to come.
The district owns three buildings. Students in grades Preschool through third grade are educated in the Parkview Learning Center located at 506 North Ninth Avenue, Virginia, MN. Students in grades four through six are enrolled in Roosevelt Elementary School. Students in grades seven through twelve are enrolled in Virginia High School. These two schools share the Roosevelt/Technical complex located at 411 South Fifth Avenue, Virginia, MN. The school district also owns the James Madison building which is rented to the Northland Learning Center. During peak enrollment years, the school district operated six separate elementary buildings. Currently, none of those buildings house students enrolled in the school district.
Today, the district office is located at 411 South Fifth Avenue, Virginia, Minnesota, 55792. The telephone number for the district office is 218.749.5437.