RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A months-long debate over a new George Wythe High school continued Tuesday night between the Richmond School Board and City Council. Since August, both parties have been in a gridlock over construction and funding, and those tensions continued for nearly two hours, ending with some members walking out mid-meeting.

“Are you guys walking out while I’m talking?,” asked school board member Stephanie Rizzi. That question was met with an affirming “yep,” from other city leaders as they exited the room.

At the center of last night’s debate was school capacity and, whether the school should hold 1,600 students as suggested, or 2,000 to accommodate for potential growth.

School board member Jonathan Young said that George Wythe currently holds around 1,300 students. He cited a potential cost increase of $16.4 million if a larger school is built.

Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch fired back that population growth is inevitable, and building a larger school could prevent future overcrowding.

“Population growth is here,” she said. “We cannot shy away from the fact that those students will be here, and if we do not build a school that is big enough for them, they wont have enough classrooms. That’s what’s happening in George Wythe today.”

Councilwoman Reva Trammel agreed with the population growth, but also raised concerns about teacher retention and resources.

“There’s a lack of teachers all over. What do we do to attract teachers and get them to stay,” she said. “We have to come together, and it looks like we’re not getting it done.”

But it’s this repeated cycle of questions that the school board says is slowing the process of re-building George Wythe. The board argues that they have the authority to build schools, and the city is interfering with that process by withholding the $7.31 million that has already been set aside for that purpose.

“We are not accomplishing anything with this back and forth… this power struggle,” said school board member Dawn Page.

“Let’s get the building built,” added Cheryl Burke. “Too many meetings, too much talking back and forth. This is not where the city of Richmond needs to be. Put a plug in it and move forward.”

Ultimately, no solution was reached for a construction timeline. City council will vote on Monday on whether to release the funds for the project.