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Funding denied for WVSDB residential learning centers

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By Marla Pisciotta 
Cumberland Times-News

ROMNEY, W.Va. — Although the West Virginia School Building Authority has declined to provide any funding to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to begin building new residential learning centers, SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin said construction plans are not ditched.

The 2014 proposal request was for $7.1 million with the WVSDB contributing another $750,000.

“I’m disappointed,” Lynn Boyer, superintendent, said.

Boyer said she had several conversations with Manchin last week and was prepared for the decision, but hoped, nevertheless, that a last-minute change would occur.

“That did not happen,” Boyer said in a letter sent to the campus leadership.

Boyer said Manchin encouraged the WVSDB to maintain its momentum to implement its Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan.

“The plan to build is not ditched, just postponed pending funding,” Manchin said in a phone interview Tuesday morning.

Manchin said a delegation will be appointed by Peter Markam, the governor’s designee as chair of the School Building Authority.

“We want to get all the stakeholders involved, the West Virginia Legislature, the state Board of Education, the School Building Authority and representatives from the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind,” Manchin said.

Manchin said the Legislature and the state Board of Education have deep pockets and are primarily responsible for the WVSDB.

“The SBA perhaps plays the role as a third party,” he said.

“We will need sure direction and guidance through the budget and legislative processes, and I expect the appointed delegation to provide that,” Boyer said.

Manchin said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is well aware of the situation at the schools. “The governor will meet with the delegation in the near future,” he said.

In the interim, Manchin said the delegation is expected to go over a plan for funding.

“There is no question that the comprehensive education plan for the WVSDB needs to be addressed. The governor knows this,” Manchin said.