WV School Building Authority – Chartered to ignore the will of the Voters?

The WV SBA accepts applications from School Boards across the state and divides money among those deemed worthy according to the SBA criteria. Health and Safety is the paramount consideration in making awards this year. So says, Dr Mark Anthony Manchin (AJ Manchin’s son and cousin to the Governor). He is the Executive Director of the Board. He heads the full-time staff that examines the applications and makes recommendations to the Governor’s appointed Board that makes the decision as to what counties will receive money for new schools.

The other important factor in the SBA decision is the level of ‘public participation’. By this term it is meant to what extent are the people of the county willing to burden themselves with some of the cost.

The problem with the entire process is that it starts with the SBA application from the local superintendent of schools. As far as the SBA is concerned, that is where your county’s school building history starts. They do not examine why local bond elections failed. A recently defeated bond may have rejected the path that is now represented in the superintendents application for money to build a school and consolidate others even after the voters clearly said, “NO” during the election.

So, the first step in ignoring the voters is with the school board members and superintendent submitting an application to the SBA, The SBA ratifies the rejection of the voter’s desires by then granting money to do what the local people said they did not want done.

What is lacking by the SBA is a public review period to collect the true history of why the voters do not support the proposed new school that will lead to the closing and consolidation of other local schools.

If you support neighborhood schools and are opposed to school consolidation then you must contact the members of the SBA directly. The Harrison County Board of Education heard you speak at the last election on the Bond referendum and have ignored you. SBA Members.

A Harrison County resident is a member of the SBA. His name is Louis Spatafore. Some of you are familiar with his family furniture business. He lives in Bridgeport. Phone him if you are opposed to the proposed SBA-funded school at Charles Pointe. Tell Mr Spatafore that you know his family owns property and a business at Charles Pointe but you expect him to reflect the views of the voters and to avoid the appearance of self-interest by promoting the Charles Pointe owner’s and school superintendent’s views over the 60% of the people of Harrison County who voted “NO” to the idea of new schools where the Board proposed. Also take into consideration where you wish to shop for furniture in the future.

If you are really serious about allowing your objections to the Charles Pointe school to be heard then you must contact several people. Dr Mark Manchin’s phone number is 304 558-2541. You can try his email address but he does not read it often. mmanchin@wvsba.state.wv.us .

You should also call the Governor. He is the titular head of the SBA even though he has a designated chair to sit in for him. He and his wife Gayle have made statements that they favor community schools and want to avoid grade school consolidation. Gayle is on the State Department of Education but not on the SBA. Let them know what is happening. Ask your local legislators to provide you contact information for other members of the SBA. A majority of the SBA are Democrats, a minority are Republicans. Regardless of who you are contact them. A decision could be made within a week or two. Do it now. It will be fun. Send some comments on what was said.

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8 Responses

  1. What property or business does Spatafore’s family own at Charles Pointe?? I know Jack’s Furniture is located a East Pointe. Just Curious.

  2. Bridgeport Mayor Jim “Charles Pointe” Christie made more than one trip to the Harrison County Board of Educaton to MISrepresent that the people of Bridgeport wanted a new school at Charles Pointe…he sold it so well that he convinced the BOE to try their original plan of closing Johnson & Simpson and creating another Nutter Fort decable at Charles Pointe!

    He and the developers are willing to throw away anything in Bridgeport to make sure Charles Pointe succeeds.

    If you were truly planning for growth of the “upscale” Charles Pointe why would you start with a grade school that has over 350 students (just about the size of Simpson) from outside that area? If it ever does take off, where are you going to send the Charles Pointe kids? Build on then and make it a megaschool? Or boot our kids out at that point, since you don’t need them any more?

    Build a school at Charles Pointe…What is the next obvious step? How about close Simpson? Why? Because you have to “steal” the kids from somewhere to go to school there …there is virtually no student population at Charles Pointe…I mean you can count the students on your fingers…you won’t need your toes!! Ask any Clarksburg resident how closing schools affects your established neighborhoods? What happens to Main Street & its businesses when the parents of 400 kids don’t have to drive it everyday to get to and from Simpson any more?

    How do parents in the Bridgeport area feel about having their children bussed unnecessarily to Charles Pointe by way of dangerous I-79 or dangerous Route 131? UGH!

    Speaking of Route 131, how about all that bait and switch language at the beginning of the bond issue …the Route 131 school??? Please?!?! They knew before they ever got started that the public didn’t want the school at Charles Pointe and they rode that Route 131 horse ‘til it died.

    The safety of our children doesn’t even enter their greedy minds!!! Bussing dangers (and wasting fuel!) is only the beginning! How about the fact that this proposed site in on a hill at virtually the same level as the North Central West Virginia airport!

    Many potential problems with the site for Charles Pointe School – Too dangerous for the hospital —that’s why it is not being built there!!

    Questions of Flight Patterns

    Noise from planes taking off and landing

    Noise from businesses located at the airport and industrial park (we need these businesses to grow-not be stifled in the future due to noise complaints from a school that never should have been built in such close proximity.

    ****FAA Concern with Site Selection – FAA official has spoken off the record against the proposed site and was supposedly hushed by a call from Senator Rockefeller’s staff which was prompted by a call from the developer of Charles Pointe after a heads up from Jim Christie fresh from an Airport Authority Meeting where questions of FAA concern with the proposed school site were being discussed! How’s that for political connections!

    The research is voluminous and conclusive on the subject…children chronically exposed to aircraft noise have poorer reading skills than children attending elementary schools in a quiet neighborhood. A Cornell study and other research before it, show the adverse correlation between chronic aircraft noise exposure and deficits in reading and language acquisition skills.

    How about the fact that there are also numerous acres of industrial zoned property on the other side of the airport…what noise or air pollution may that bring to children in a school just down the road????

    Let’s make this personal, since the decision to bus a parent’s child out of their neighborhood doesn’t get any more personal! The Charles Pointe developers moved from here when their children were small because they did not want them to attend school here!! Our schools aren’t good enough for them to send their children …but they (the rich and all-knowing) can tell us where to send our children to school?!?! They and their political cohorts get to pillage Bridgeport proper, destroy our school system and neighborhoods, and suck value out of our homes for their personal gain. I hope the people of Bridgeport tell the School Building Authority and Dr. Mark Manchin…NO WAY!! This is the public’s last defense since our local government and school board has sold us out!!

    9 million for Charles Pointe …how about dividing the money up and improving Johnson and Simpson…Buy the block around Simpson (estimated $300,000), tear down the tower (that has no plumbing to these elementary classrooms, restrooms 3 floors down in the basement, a wet basement that has been ignored for years, a mold/mildrew issue as a result …oldest school building in Harrison County 1909, beats any other by 20 years!) build a gymnasium (to replace having physical education in the cafeteria!) and build on classrooms, library, computer/media, and music rooms. Do away with security-plagued portable classrooms! And making our children run between buildings in all kinds of weather!

    Johnson is in desperate need of structural improvements, floors & roofs, renovate the 1957 building, do away with portable classrooms and build on a gymnasium, classrooms and computer/media, and music rooms.

    Johnson needs updated and designed to hold # of students crammed in there now and Simpson can be expanded to hold the number at Johnson now and this will meet the total capacity of “stealing” students from Simpson and Johnson( …lowering their capacity by removing the portables and not replacing them with anything) and building Charles Pointe. How’s that?!! Update and renew 2 schools for the price of building 1 that is not needed or wanted!

    The upswing for Bridgeport area residents …equality of elementary education! Why should Charles Pointe get a new school with all the updated amenities while the bulk of Bridgeport elementary students get nothing but old second rate buildings. We do not want to divide our community…your child gets to go the NEW school, mine doesn’t! We want a win-win for all parts of Bridgeport. It should not matter if your child attends Johnson or Simpson …same quality education…now with updated and better equipped buildings. We are unwilling to sacrifice the Bridgeport of today for the promise of Charles Pointe tomorrow!!

    People who do not have children in the system can not ignore this issue. Right now your home would be valued the same if it lies in the Johnson or Simpson school district, but if they build a new school in Charles Pointe …the rest of the City of Bridgeport homes are left in the second rate school district! Your property value will fall!

    And for those of you keeping score …why would a mayor of a city fight so hard for a school that would only help the property values of homes in two neighborhoods that are within the city limits…so far all other areas identified to attend Charles Pointe are outside the city limits of Bridgeport…maybe since the mayor just happens to own property in those exact two neighborhoods!!! And as an aside Dr. Friebel’s home is in one of the outlying areas slated for Charles Pointe and oh, by the way Mike Queen owns several lots in another outlying area slated for Charles Pointe…just thought you’d like to know.

    An SBA official who visited Johnson & Simpson this week stated off the record, “If we do not receive some opposition, we will assume the people of Bridgeport want this school at Charles Pointe.”

    Please let’s give them the opposition…Tell Dr. Manchin and Governor Manchin you are against building a school at Charles Pointe!

    The citizens of Harrison County and Bridgeport in particular do not want their state tax dollars spent on this school where virtually no student population exists. The current bursting utilization rates of Johnson and Simpson has nothing to do with development of Charles Pointe. We do not want our state tax dollars funding a private development that will benefit the few, when investing that money in existing student population centers would benefit so many more!! A school at Charles Pointe will only develop and enhance the prosperity of a very FEW people in Harrison County. Please let Dr. Manchin know that what he has heard of the Charles Pointe project has come from only the few who stand to benefit from it. The political machine has been working overtime on this one!

    Please contact the Director of the WV School Building Authority Dr. Mark Manchin.

    Email: mmanchin@wvsba.state.wv.us

    Mailing Address: 2300 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV 25311-2306

    Telephone: 304-558-2541 Fax: 304-558-2539

    Thanks!!

  3. what can we do? the evil empire and their death star is pointing its “laser” up our asses

  4. Check ownership and about 3 ac. with Day Care at Charles Pointe

  5. renovation is not the key. Building a new school is not only beneficial now, but also in the future when the “1909″ building has fallen apart. If I didn’t know any better, “everyone against the schools” sounds like one individual who missed the $$ train and the innovation at Charles Pointe. Get off your high horse and praise the fact that someone wants to improve WV. Or should I remind you of how in last place in everything it is . . .

  6. Tear the 1909 tower down…that is the most significant part of the renovation to the Simpson school site, basically you’d have everything new except for the one wing…we’ll take a new school to replace Johnson in the Johnson area! Then Bridgeport would essentially have 2 new schools where the kids live!!! Novel idea!! The problem with the $$ train at Charles Pointe is that so many of “the political powers” of our area caught the train and are only interested in padding their own pockets…how about the greater good!!! How about taking care of ALL the elementary kids in Bridgeport—not just a chosen few! How about giving back to the community that makes up Bridgeport NOW, you know the ones who donate money, time, effort in this community NOW and have for years…don’t you owe those people and their children and grandchildren something?? I’m thrilled someone wants to improve WV—they just don’t get to pillage Bridgeport proper to do it!

  7. [...] has the West Virginia School Building Authority adopted and instituted bottom-feeder standards? Why does the SBA push schools toward 28 students per classroom in grade [...]

  8. [...] School Building Authority (SBA) about two decades ago has taken power away from the people. The SBA makes an end run around the public by way of the state and federal money it gives out, often for unpopular school closing and [...]

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