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Private Meeting Held Prior to FEMA Mediation

Monday, November, 6, 2017

Officials from the State and from Nicholas County schools are holding talks prior to the planned federal government mediation concerning the schools’ consolidation dispute with the state. 


Two weeks before the official mediation will began, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will send mediators to West Virginia for talks between Nicholas school officials and the WVA Department of Education.   The two sides held one meeting privately already. 


According to State Superintendent Steve Paine, the Governor’s Office has been kept “fully abreast” of the meeting, but he did not know if the office told FEMA about the meetings so far.   According to Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick, FEMA was not made aware of the meetings by her organization. 


The next step is for the superintendent to explore alternative facilities plans with the support and cooperation of the state department of education. 


The dispute arose when the Nicholas school board planned to combine three schools that had to close after the catastrophic flooding in June 2016.  The three schools included Richwood Middle, Richwood High and Summersville Middle, which would have all been combined into with Nicholas County High and the county’s vocational education center into a single campus at the Glade Creek Business Park, near Summersville. 


The school board intended to use FEMA funding to build the larger consolidated campus, but others argue the money should be used to rebuild all three schools individually.   The state school board rejected the consolidation plan and the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled the board had the right to make that decision.