Fayette will get part of $48 million in SBA funding
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state School Building Authority will put $48.8 million into school construction projects in West Virginia in the coming year, including $12.6 million for the first of a multi-year construction schedule in Fayette County.
“We don’t feel relieved. What we feel is that we were very fortunate to collaborate with the School Building Authority staff and the Department of Education,” said Terry George, superintendent of schools in Fayette County, soon after Monday’s SBA vote on needs projects.
A year ago, the SBA rejected Fayette County’s Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan which would have cost $39 million over a span of three years and consolidated four of Fayette County’s five high schools.
In the time since then, work has continued on an alternative plan to address the current and future needs of the struggling Fayette County school system which is home to some of the most dilapidated schools in West Virginia.
Because of the state of Fayette County’s schools, Cindy Chamberlin enrolled two of her children, who are in high school, in private schools last year.
“We’re spending their college funds just to be sure they’re going to be college ready,” she told MetroNews.
Chamberlin joined other Fayette County residents at Monday’s SBA meeting.
This year, Fayette County proposed a $22 million plan — with $12.6 million being the SBA’s contribution in the 1st year and $10 million next year. Local funds will total $17 million over the two years.
Initially, the funds will pay for the reconfiguration of the existing Collins Middle School and construction of a new PK-2 elementary school to include students from Collins.
Karen Ellis has a child attending school at Collins currently. “I just want to move forward,” she said of the Fayette County plan. “I want our kids out of modular trailers.”