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.

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  • Mason County Contrarian

    As I used to say: "Oh no! Not a death-by-powerpoint presentation!"

  • I'm honest at least

    The entire idea of this is plain stupid. Agree to pay more taxes or the state will deny funding and take over your schools.

  • No levy, no money

    Well if voters won't vote for a levy in some counties, then the rest of the state shouldn't have to fork over their portion so the SBA can take care of those who don't absorb a levy and increased taxes.

  • Independent View

    I noted in the article that some counties have turned down school levies and Wayne County twice.
    Are these examples of residents not wanting to pay additional property taxes or an example of a lack of improvement in the educational system?
    It appears that county school levies are the only method for taxpayers/parents to send the message to the state BOE, county, BOEs, school administrators, teachers and their unions that they will have to depend on handouts and raises from the politicians in the WV Legislature wanting their votes and not taxpayers and that until WV's Education System Improves, more and more county school bond levies will go down to defeat.
    Acountability is needed to regain the public's trust.

  • TB

    How about using some of the money for continuing education for the professionals? Might help elevate the education of the students.

    • Fix it right

      Yeah right, throw money at the teachers. That will solve it. If you are a dedicated professional, your students will soar. While the reduced salary will always be on your mind, you will still do your job and make sure the students learn and excel. That's not happening across the board. Only in very, very small pockets of the state. So again, tie the raise to student performance. Then make sure that teacher gets a huge one.

  • Tired of the Moochers

    What's the property assessment rate in Wayne and Ritchie counties? Are they taxing at the maximum assessment rate as allowed by state law? If not, then they shouldn't get a dime. Some counties are taxing at the maximum rate. But most do not. The counties that do not, need to raise and assess at a rate that will support their needs. Not sponge off of the rest of the state. If Wayne and Ritchie taxpayers are paying the maximum rate of assessment then their request should be seriously considered. End of story.