Nicholas County school board holds second consolidation hearing

By Alex Thomas
SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. – The Nicholas County Board of Education held its second meeting Tuesday regarding consolidation efforts in the school system.

The proposal is to merge Nicholas County High School, Richwood High School and Nicholas County Career and Technical Center into one high school facility by the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Additionally, Richwood Middle and Summersville Middle schools would consolidate into one middle school by the conclusion of that same academic year.

Richwood Middle, Richwood High and Summersville Middle schools were heavily damaged in the June 23 flood.

The plan was approved by the board on Jan. 23, and the first meeting on the proposal was Feb. 24 at Summersville Middle School. A public hearing has to be held for each school being considered for consolidation.

The 22 minute-long meeting at Nicholas County High School featured five speakers, all of whom were in support of consolidation.

Wes Johnson, who has two children in the Nicholas County School system, believes consolidation will allow schools to hold more classes, adding how his son in middle school has a limited number of elective classes at his institution.

“This is his seventh-straight semester of music class,” Johnson said. “Last year, he was supposed to go to computer, but due to lack of funding, he lost his computer class.”

Johnson also voiced support for the board, saying he was proud of the body for standing up for the community.

Some have previously voiced opposition to the move, including Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber. Baber has said because of rebuilding in the area by programs such as Neighbors Loving Neighbors, growth is possible.

Jenny Foreman, who graduated from Nicholas County High School in 1989, said at the meeting she’s heard people argue consolidation is being done to save the system money.

“That isn’t the truth,” Foreman said. “The truth is we need more classes for our students. We need more electives for our students.”

The next consolidation meeting is set for March 1 at Cherry River Elementary School in Richwood. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.