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. firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.