FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Fayette County Superintendent of Schools Terry George is disappointed with the SBA’s decision to reject Fayette County’s school consolidation plan, but he will head back to the drawing board immediately.

“We were very disappointed in it,” George said. “The reason we’re disappointed is that this is a clear message sent to our students in Fayette County that they are expected to continue to attend school in buildings that are sub-par. And that’s unfortunate for the students here.”

The School Building Authority officially rejected the proposed Fayette County package on Monday. Members of the SBA cited their concerns with Fayette County’s inability to pass a bond issue and what they believed would be a bad precedent to set for other counties.

In a 6-3 vote, the State Board of Education accepted Fayette County’s proposal earlier this month.

“That’s a mixed message from the School Building Authority,” George said. “I don’t know exactly which of their members made a statement. We did not pass a bond, but we were bringing a total of 17 million dollars, which is a significant contribution.”

Fayette County’s been notorious in their failed bond issue votes. They haven’t passed a bond issue since 1973, and similar measures have failed three times since 2001.

“We tried to develop an alternative plan–a creative plan–to finance a new school so that we could reconfigure here and put all of our students in buildings that were safe,” George said. “And the School Building Authority, the members of the Authority, sent a very clear message to the students here that that was unacceptable.”

Fayette County’s school buildings have been in decline for years, and tackling the issue head on became top priority for Superintendent Terry George when he joined the school system this summer.

“We thought we had a very solid plan that would put our students in safe buildings, that would provide an environment that would be conducive to improving the academic achievement levels in Fayette County,” George said. “And now we’re being told that the citizens here didn’t support a bond, the package is not going to be considered.”

The proposed plan would have closed six schools in the county, consolidated all the high schools into a brand new school in the Oak Hill area, transformed Oak Hill High School into a new middle school, and created a new elementary school as well.

Though George’s plan had a lot of vocal support, there were some concerns from the Meadow Bridge community–citing the long travel times for students.

George said Fayette County is an area that faces myriad issues in geography and lack of population density, but faces continuous economic struggles.

“17 million dollars is a considerable contribution for a county that’s as economically depressed as Fayette County,” George said. “And we were very disappointed that they did not even permit us to have the opportunity to present our plan to the School Building Authority in November.”

The new high school would have theoretically opened in 2017, but George said he’ll now bring the issue back to the attention of the Fayette County Board of Education to begin seeking a new path forward.