FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The Fayette County Commission has voted unanimously to retain Mountain State Justice in preparation of legal action against the School Building Authority.

The SBA voted last week to reject the Fayette County Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan–an attempt at upgrading apparently dilapidated facilities.

Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Harrah said nothing is off the table at this point.

“Fayette County Commission has retained Mountain State Justice to pursue any and all legal action necessary to alleviate the problems here that we suffer here in Fayette County in our school system,” he said.

In what has turned out to be a controversial decision, the School Building Authority voted to deny Fayette County’s amendment–not even providing the school system with an opportunity to present their request in front of the SBA in November.

The amendment would have closed six schools, consolidating four Fayette County high schools (Fayetteville, Oak Hill, Meadow Bridge, and Midland Trail) into one new high school in the Oak Hill area. Additionally, Oak Hill High School would have transitioned into a new Collins Middle School and the county would have built a new elementary school.

This plan was proposed after Fayette County failed to adopt a bond issue in June. This was the third time since 2001 such a vote has failed. A bond issue hasn’t been passed in Fayette County since 1973.

State Board of Education President Mike Green sent a letter to Governor Tomblin requesting a second vote from the SBA on the decision. It’s Green’s belief that the SBA acted outside of it’s authority by voting down the amendment on a vote that was only supposed to be used to determine whether or not Fayette County had met all necessary requirements in their application.

Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George felt the move by the School Building Authority was, in some ways, unprecedented and may have been outside of their scope of power.

“I’m not an attorney so I’m not going stay here and say that stuff, but I felt they did,” he said.

Though the parties were vague about what a potential legal remedy would look like, George said he’d like the chance to present the full Fayette County Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan to the School Building Authority next month.

“That’s my hope, but as of right now we were not approved,” he said. “So we are not eligible for the funding cycle at this time.”

Harrah said any legal remedy will have to start with Mountain State Justice.

“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s up to them to negotiate. I can’t comment on that.”

There were some detractors in Fayette County who did not support the new plan–mostly from the Meadow Bridge area–over travel time for students on buses to a potential new high school in the Oak Hill area.

Travel time for students would have been more than an hour each direction.