State board rejects plan to consolidate Nicholas schools
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail
The West Virginia Board of Education voted Tuesday to reject the Nicholas County school board’s proposal to consolidate five schools in Richwood, Summersville and Craigsville onto one campus near Summersville.
The vote came after a surprise public presentation from a state School Building Authority official and the state schools superintendent on a general alternative plan that would use differently the flood-recovery money that Nicholas expects to receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The problem is, I think in West Virginia, it’s time to look at alternatives other than consolidation,” state board President Tom Campbell said.
Jim Wilson was the only state board member heard voting no in the voice vote to shoot down the plan. Joseph Wallace, an Elkins-based attorney, was the only one of the nine voting members absent.
The vote, before a crowd of about 100 people in the state board meeting room in Charleston, came after people on the side favoring rebuilding schools in the Richwood area and people on the pro-consolidated-campus side were each given about 65 minutes to speak.
Then came more than two additional hours that included state Schools Superintendent Steve Paine calling Scott Raines, the SBA’s director of school planning and construction, to the lectern to reveal — for the first time publicly — a plan to instead create a consolidated Richwood Middle/Richwood High and a consolidated Summersville Middle/Nicholas County High.
Raines said the latter consolidation also could include the county’s vocational education center.