West Virginia School Building Authority Executive Director Mark Manchin told the Randolph County Board of Education Monday that counties who pass bonds are more likely to receive financial assistance for projects.
Manchin was on hand during the meeting for a work session to discuss the community school project the board is considering. The funding for the estimated $25,936,202.24 worth of projects at Beverly Elementary, Coalton Elementary, Harman, Homestead Elementary, Elkins High and Tygarts Valley High/Middle schools has yet to be determined, but the board will consider the possibility of running a bond call during the General Election in November.
"We like to help those counties that help themselves," Manchin told the board members. "We've never turned our back on a county that has passed a bond. If you say yes in November, we will say yes in April."
Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares hosted a series of community forums earlier this year to take input on the projects at several schools listed as the second priority on the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan.
Phares said the board will decide if a bond call will be conducted during the election in November. He said that the county school system is not asking for more than it did during the levy call in 2010.
According to Phares, the board asked for 48.3 cents per the assessed value and the levy call was passed. He said the school system had to lower that rate by 43 cents to stay within the call.
"If you look at the projected costs we are not asking for more," he said. "The bonding capacity of Randolph County is $52 million."
He said the school system will ask for funding from the WVSBA if the bond passes.
"In order to keep all the community schools open, we have to address the life safety issues," he said. "What we are trying to do is save the community schools."
Manchin said the most important thing is to make sure the community understands what is in the bond call.
"As you prepare this make sure your communities understand this," he said. "Informed voters are more likely to vote 'yes.'"
The project includes several upgrades at the schools including a new cafeteria, music room, interior and exterior renovations at Harman School.
At Homestead Elementary, renovations include opening the second floor of the building which would involve adding a new stairwell and elevator.
At Tygarts Valley Middle/High School, upgrades include a new gymnasium and auditorium at the building.
Renovation at Coalton Elementary include opening the second floor of the building, which would include a new stairwell and elevator. The school would also have renovations to the windows, wall facing, a new fire alarm and wiring and gymnasium upgrades.
At Beverly Elementary, the project included a new cafeteria, site work, interior renovations, equipment, a sprinkler system and asbestos abatement and an HVAC system.
The project also includes the installation of an HVAC system in the Elkins High School gymnasium.
The next Randolph County Board of Education meeting is slated for 6 p.m. on July 2 at the county office.
Contact Anthony Gaynor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.