HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — In Cabell County, the Board of Education is putting a new bond measure on the ballot in the upcoming election. However, due to the pandemic, they’ve had to think outside the box when it came to getting community input.
Jedd Flowers, the director of communications for Cabell County Schools, says the pandemic may have actually driven up community involvement with this issue.
“When we first stared this CEFP process a year ago, we had no idea there would be a covid-19 pandemic, you know, and we even considered stopping the process.”Jedd Flowers, director of communications, Cabell County Schools
The process Flowers is talking about is the multitude of meetings and community discussions which need to happen before a school bond levy can be put on a ballot.
The question is—how do you get public input when people can’t participate in the discussion in person?
At first, they thought about simply delaying the levy to another time.
“But we started talking to the community leaders and they were all like, ‘No! You’ve got to do this. We need this economic stimulus right now.'”Jedd Flowers, director of communications, Cabell County Schools
So, like nearly everything else this year, the community meetings went virtual.
“And it’s been pretty amazing because we usually have between 40 and 60 people attending those public meetings, sometimes we wouldn’t have that many people attend in our real life meetings!”Jedd Flowers, director of communications, Cabell County Schools
The bond will be on the ballot on Aug. 22. If passed, it would mean a revenue boost of $87 million.
Flowers says this bond money, if passed, will go towards rebuilding and renovations, among other things the community considers most needed.
These include lack of central air conditioning, lack of sprinkler systems, as well as safety and accessibility issues for disabled students.
The virtual dialogue seems to be working.
“We’ve had questions, of course, you know what are you gonna do here, what location are you thinking about, and really those things are still up in the air until the bond passes.”Jedd Flowers, director of communications, Cabell County Schools
There are still two more virtual meetings on the proposal coming up next week. The first is on Monday—the second is on Thursday.
For more details on how to take part, visit Cabell County Schools’ website here.