The Nicholas County Board of Education election will likely determine the future of schools in the county. State and county board members are still working out a plan for how to rebuild schools that were destroyed in the June 2016 floods. With seven candidates vying for three seats, the race is expected to be tight.
There’s a lot on the line in the race, so voters are looking critically at the experience, decision making and values of each of the seven candidates. Six of the seven divided themselves up into two groups- representing more of the Summersville and Richwood sides of the county. But with just three seats available, it’s any man’s race.
While the list of candidates is diverse, they all share a common goal- providing students the best education.
“I want what’s best for all students, not one end in particular, but all students,” Fred Amick told 13 News.
Fred Amick and Philip Berry are familiar faces, serving on the Board for years and voting to approve the controversial school consolidation plan. Amick and Berry say they want to finsh the job they’ve started and get new schools built for students.
“We’re losing enrollment, our tax base is shrinking, just like it is over the whole state. Every county around us is consolidated,” Amick added.
Both want to see more students enrolled in the Career and Technical program by moving the vocational school to Nicholas County High School.
“We have a very low percentage attending our CTE or Votech- 17% and that’s not enough. And if it’s located in the building or on the grounds, more people will attend,” Berry explained.
Libby Coffman has formed an alliance with Amick and Berry. She’s a Nicholas County grad, active as a little league coach and volunteer with her kids and grandkids.
“My goals is for all the students of Nicholas County to have equal representation, and that we make available to them the resources needed to provide the knowledge, skills and training they need to become successful contributors as they transition out into the world,” Coffman said.
Then you have Roy Moose, Rick Green and Stacy Raffo who have joined up to represent the other side of the county, focused on community schools.
“It should be the best education possible for the most students- that’s our job, that’s the thing that we say we’re going to do, that’s a thing we need to do. But it has to be financially prudent, and it has to be educationally sound,” Moose explained.
Moose is a retired science teacher, whereas Green has been in construction most his life.
“I’m for all the kids in Nicholas County, I’ll fight hard for them, whatever they need. I’ve worked for RESA 4 for 5 1/2 years, I’ve been in every classroom in every school in the county and I see a lot of issues we have in the county,” Green added.
Green says the Board is in a prime position to put two great schools on both ends of the county. Stacy Raffo agrees.
“Community schools, facility management, fiscal responsibility, technology innovation and integration. Mom is the greatest title I’ll ever have in life, but I’d be honored to add the title of Nicholas County Board of Education member. Let me be the voice of parents and the voice of moms,” Raffo said at a candidate meet-and-greet.
Duane Borchers Sr. has separated himself in the race as a veteran and independent voice.
“That’s what I want for the kids- get out of high school and be able to stand on their own two feet,” Borchers said.
This race could impact which flooded schools get rebuilt and where.
The winners will be decided in the May 8th primary election because the race is non-partisan. Click here to register to vote.