CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Board of Education was scheduled to have an emergency meeting July 10 to review Nicholas County Board of Education’s request to consolidate five schools.
Nicholas BOE requested to close and consolidate Richwood Middle, Richwood High, Summersville Middle, Nicholas County High and the county’s vocational education center in Craigsville.
The county board claims the state denied the consolidation plan, and it filed a lawsuit June 27 against the state school board in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The county board claims it had planned to use the Federal Emergency Management Agency recovery money it had received after the June 2016 flooding, which closed three of the five schools.
The West Virginia Board of Education was to hold an emergency meeting July 10 to review information about the Nicholas County Board of Education’s request to close and consolidate five schools in the county.
The state board’s emergency meeting agenda says motions may be considered regarding Nicholas’ proposed comprehensive education facilities plan amendment and closures.
The state board said the meeting’s purpose would be to help expedite a final resolution of the matters in the pending lawsuit “so that federal funding will not be in jeopardy.”
A show cause hearing is scheduled for July 11 at 10 a.m. in Circuit Judge Louis Bloom’s courtroom regarding the lawsuit against the state BOE and Superintendent Steve Paine.
The county BOE claims Gov. Jim Justice and Paine attempted to block the consolidation plan and that Paine misled the state BOE during the monthly meeting on June 13. It claims “political pressure” was placed on officials to make sure the plan was not approved.
A plan for the schools’ reconstruction or consolidation must be completed by December for the district to receive a FEMA grant.
The county board is represented by Rebecca M. Tinder, Patrick C. Timony and Kenneth E. Webb Jr.
The state board is represented by Kelli D. Talbott.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 17-P-232