Changes ahead for Fayette County students
By Annie Moore, WVVA Multimedia Journalist
Fayette County (WVVA) -- As Fayette County students prepare to head back to school, many will be returning with more pressing questions than just who their next teacher will be. While some will stay in the same school as last year, others will be walking into a new one.
Just a month into his term as Superintendent, Terry George said he is working toward a long-term plan for Fayette County schools.
"It would be premature at this point to tell you I have a plan...I don't. What I have are theories and ideas that we're trying to formulate for a comprehensive plan that we'll eventually take to the citizens of Fayette County," said George.
Until then, George has a temporary one. The biggest change this year will be for 7th graders who started last year at Collins Middle. To accommodate their large class size, those students will attend Oak Hill High instead of Fayetteville High.
George said rising 8th graders will remain at Fayetteville High. And 5th and 6th graders will stay at Collins Middle School, using the rear of the building which has been deemed safe to occupy. "Parents are going to have to adapt to that, especially parents who have 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students in three different schools, separated by 5-10 minutes."
At Mount Hope Elementary and Meadow Bridge High, students will stay where they are and condemned sections of the school will be cordoned off. "Mount Hope Elementary has one section closed off due to a structural issue. In fact, the facilities department is in the process of creating a chaining fence to prevent student injuries in that area. And at Meadow Bridge High School, the second floor has been deemed unsafe to occupy. So the second floor will be off limits."
And as for the displaced football team at Valley High School, they will be playing many of their games at Oak Hill High and Meadow Bridge. "Those will be home games for Valley High School...their games, their crowds, and their people in charge of athletic events," added George.
Finding public support for new schools and desperately needed renovations won't be easy, said George, but it's a challenge he is up to.
"You have to believe in the cause. I feel students here in Fayette County deserve an opportunity to go to school in a modern, safe facility, where they can feel comfortable in class and it's conducive to student learning."
George also said the board office is still working to fill 40 faculty positions, mostly in Special Education and Math. He hopes to have a comprehensive plan to take public by mid-year.