CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It’s a tale of two counties. Both went before the state School Building Authority Monday morning.
Wayne County Superintendent Lynn Hurt requested $18 million in SBA funding for two brand new schools and renovations at a third. Ritchie County Superintendent Ed Toman asked for $6 million to renovate an elementary school.
They are two of 18 county school leaders requesting funding from the SBA Monday and Tuesday. The authority has $45 million to hand out and $120 million in requests.
Wayne is in desperate need of new school facilities. Hurt said this year’s request includes a new Ceredo Kenova Elementary, a new Crum PK-8 and renovations to Wayne High School.
“I only come here for needs, not wants,” stressed Hurt.
Two years in a row voters in Wayne County turned down multi-million school bonds to help pay for the projects. Hurt is hoping the third time is a charm.
“We’ve talked to our communities and they seem to have come on board. They’ve come together as Wayne Countians not just as individual communities,” said Hurt.
The bond vote is scheduled for May 13 with $18-million is on the line. That’s how much Hurt asked from the SBA. Add in $6-million more from the county’s coffers and the superintendent said Wayne County would have the $42 million to give students a better education.
She stressed they need the SBA funding to make it happen.
“We can’t do it without the bond either. So we’re dependent on both these entities to help our kids,” explained Hurt.
Meanwhile, in Ritchie County, Superintendent Ed Toman said there’s a need for renovations at Creed Collins Elementary.
“[We need to make it] handicapped accessible, new lighting, flooring, a new kitchen/cafeteria, new front entrance,” he explained.
He’s asking for $6.3 million from the SBA with the county shelling out an additional $250,000. With only a quarter of a million dollars to put forth and coming off $4 million in SBA funding last year for a renovation project, Toman admits getting the funding is a long shot.
“We’re feeling lucky!”
He said if they don’t get the $6 million this year it won’t be a major disappointment for the school system. However, it won’t stop them from asking again in 2015.
“We’ll be back next year. You just have to be persistent,” according to Toman.
Meanwhile, Raleigh County failed to pass a school bond last month. They’ve taken themselves out of the running for nearly $40 million during this funding cycle.
SBA members will take some time to mull over the projects before they decide which counties need the money the most. They’ll take a vote April 28.