Dozens of Nicholas County neighbors showed up in force to the Board of Education meeting Monday night, hoping to get answers as to what will happen with flooded schools.
The year and a half battle over Nicholas County schools seems to be finally winding down.
“As far as the next steps, we’re just going to have to wait and I’ll get some direction from the Department of Education and mediation and go forward,” Nicholas County Superintendent Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick told the Board of Education Monday night.
The West Virginia Supreme Court case essentially takes consolidation off the table, but now mediation can begin on a new plan. The county superintendent says she plans to pitch the Superintendent Steven Paine suggestion.
“Pitch the idea of putting a middle/high school in Richwood to the board, and putting a middle school/high school and career center at Glad Creek park,” Dr. Tetrick added.
Richwood neighbors say they believe this plan is best for students on both ends of the county.
“The best thing for the students is you have more support. There are low SES population there, and all the studies show the low SES students suffer the most when you move them away from the base,” Richwood resident Lloyd Adkins told 13 News.
But there are still folks in Summersville pushing for the original consolidation plan, or other reconfiguration plans.
“The suggestion actually was doing a consolidated comprehensive high school with the 2 high schools and the vo-tech at the Glade Creek site… Then to do a K-8 school on the Richwood side of the county, contingent upon finding property. Then actually what I would also suggest, that would close Cherry River Elementary and perhaps the old Cherry River Elementary School could be donated to the county,” Heather Tully of Summersville told 13 News. Tully was a part of the committee formed after the West Virginia Board of Education initially denied the Nicholas County consolidation request, and this plan was one of those discussed in the committee.
An outside mediator will still be brought in to work out the logistics between the state and county. But once a school plan is put in place, all leaders will have to work to heal the deep community divide.
The next West Virginia Board of Education meeting is scheduled for November 8th, and a decision on the schools is expected then.