By Jennifer Smith
HARMAN, W.Va. – Teachers, parents and community leaders fear Harman School in Randolph County may not reopen to all students pre-K through 12. Delegate Denise Campbell, (D) Randolph County, said she’s heard rumblings that when the school reopens after repairs, not everyone will be going back.
“I think that there is a fear that maybe not all the students will be able to return, that it might be just the elementary level,” according to Campbell.
Last month, the Randolph County Board of Education unanimously agreed to send all 150 students from Harman to other facilities after a ceiling fell in in part of the building. The board said at this point, repairs must be made before students can go back to the school. That will not happen by the time classes start later this month in Randolph County.
Grades 9-12 will be going to Elkins High School, 6-8 at Elkins Middle and Pre-K through 5 to Midland Elementary and Jennings Randolph Elementary.
Campbell stressed some of those schools are at least 45 minutes away from Harman and that will mean long bus rides. She understands it’s the only solution for now but Campbell and the other delegates who represent the county want Harman to remain open to all grades.
“We are going to do everything we can to be sure that Harman school is reopened back up and we secure funding and that the school remains as a 13 year school,” said Campbell.
The delegate is adamant that community schools are what’s best for the students and their families.
“How many parents can drive 45 minutes every single day to pick your son up from basketball practice or are you going to go to a parent/teacher conference when you have to go that distance,” questioned Campbell.
The repairs are going to cost around $175,000. That does not include remediation. Right now the Randolph County Board of Education does not have the full amount to pay for the project.
Meanwhile, the school board has not stated or written that they plan to split up the schools once the repairs are complete.