UPDATE: Fayette Co. Schools officials plan consolidation - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Fayette Co. Schools officials plan consolidation

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UPDATE:

After a heated meeting at the Fayette County Board of Education building in Fayetteville Tuesday, the board has unveiled their plans to improve the school system.

The plan is called the Capital Improvement Plan 2013-2022. Superintendent Keith Butcher, along with Associate Superintendent Dr. Serena Starcher, presented the details to the crowd gathered.

They include school consolidations, building some new schools, and repairing other old ones.

The board plans to present a needs project for money to construct a new Collins Middle school in December.

Then, they plan to submit a bond proposal to be added to the ballot in the May 2014 election.

These are a package, said Starcher, and make up the funding for the new projects, which cost millions of dollars. 

The plans also include construction of new Mount Hope and Fayetteville Elementary schools in May, and add a new school, Meadow Bridge Elementary, to serve pre-K through 8th grades in December 2017.

The board will improve Midland Trail High School in order to merge it with Meadow Bridge and Fayetteville High Schools at its existing location.

The current Fayetteville HS will become Fayetteville Middle School (grades 6-8) and Ansted Middle in December 2015. The old Ansted Middle would be converted into Ansted Elementary School, grades preK-5.

Starcher said this long-term plan solved the problem of too many high schools, as well as the disrepair in many of the current schools. She added that the county school system has a hard time paying for the facilities they currently use, and this would help with that greatly.

The board will present this to the WV Board of Education next week. The plans, pending funding and voting in the next election, would begin quickly. 

Parents advocating for keeping Meadow Bridge High School around said they felt steam-rolled, and that their students would have to travel further to receive an education they argue would be less beneficial for them.

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FAYETTEVILLE (WVVA) - Dozens of concerned residents gathered at a public hearing in Fayette County Tuesday evening to voice their opinions on issues facing the county school system -- including the often-divisive topic of consolidation.

Many teachers and parents signed up to speak on behalf of their schools to keep them unconsolidated.

Concerned parent Michelle Farr, whose children attend Meadow Bridge High School, said she was concerned that a consolidation plan that eliminates Meadow Bridge would mean longer bus rides, increased transportation costs and less involvement of students in extracurricular activities.

Others told the board they were excited to see change, citing their desire to see their students and children excel -- and their feeling that a fundamental such as consolidation was necessary to give students the best possible education.

Gayle Manchin, President of the State Board of Education was also in attendance, telling the crowd that every voice and every child is important.

Manchin asked the county to come together, adding that they can not properly move forward before that happens.

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