HARMAN, W.Va. – Teachers, parents and community leaders fear Harman School in Randolph County may not reopen to all students pre-K through 12. Delegate Denise Campbell, (D) Randolph County, said she’s heard rumblings that when the school reopens after repairs, not everyone will be going back.

“I think that there is a fear that maybe not all the students will be able to return, that it might be just the elementary level,” according to Campbell.

Last month, the Randolph County Board of Education unanimously agreed to send all 150 students from Harman to other facilities after a ceiling fell in in part of the building. The board said at this point, repairs must be made before students can go back to the school. That will not happen by the time classes start later this month in Randolph County.

Grades 9-12 will be going to Elkins High School, 6-8 at Elkins Middle and Pre-K through 5 to Midland Elementary and Jennings Randolph Elementary.

Campbell stressed some of those schools are at least 45 minutes away from Harman and that will mean long bus rides. She understands it’s the only solution for now but Campbell and the other delegates who represent the county want Harman to remain open to all grades.

“We are going to do everything we can to be sure that Harman school is reopened back up and we secure funding and that the school remains as a 13 year school,” said Campbell.

The delegate is adamant that community schools are what’s best for the students and their families.

“How many parents can drive 45 minutes every single day to pick your son up from basketball practice or are you going to go to a parent/teacher conference when you have to go that distance,” questioned Campbell.

The repairs are going to cost around $175,000. That does not include remediation. Right now the Randolph County Board of Education does not have the full amount to pay for the project.

Meanwhile, the school board has not stated or written that they plan to split up the schools once the repairs are complete.

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Comments

  • H.

    The truth is the Randolph County Board of Education and administrative leadership have never been good at managing their resources. If you look at each of the county schools you will see this, but what's odd is that it seems to be the rural schools that aren't being maintained like they should be.

  • The School Nutzi

    People of Harman, the Randolph County Board of Education will soon be telling you:

    "NO SCHOOL FOR YOU!!!"

  • ObviousQuestion

    Does this mean all of the teachers and support personnel that were working at Harman School have now lost their jobs? What's going to happen to them?

  • Teach

    Yes, we do need extra levy money, but the community has a right to help decide what that extra money is going to support. Like I said, the SBA has LOTS of money that taxpayers already put there! WE do need to start repairing our schools, because nothing has been done for the past 20 years and that's wrong!! Teachers are told to do their job or get out so it's high time others do their job like maintaining our schools so we will have a place to educate our youth. It's not just schools, it's courthouses, jails, federal buildings, etc.

  • Teach

    Hey Fed Up! You just had the WV State Superintendent, Dr. Phares, as your county Superintendent. Why did he leave Randolph Co. without any money in the budget to cough up $175,000? LOL!! You sure don't know just how much education is run by politics! Just like everything else in this country - like COAL!! GAS!!! EDUCATION!!!

  • Teach

    Hey Fed up! Is this your community? The SBA has the money! Why is it necessary for an extra bond levy? Taxpayers already foot the bill for the MILLIONS that SBA already has! They just want to use that excuse but it's wrong!

    Just like all those veterans that hadn't been taken care of properly. But guess what? Now there is funding for them and they are finally getting the help like they need. Teachers and parents need to draw the President's attention to the lack of direction that is taking place within education for this state and nation. There is no reason for this country to continue to let our schools fall down. We always seem to find money to send to other countries while our own is falling apart and our kids are going hungry. Schools need to remain within our communities. This closure never should have happened if the schools were being properly maintained!

    • The bookman

      What makes Harman more important than any other small town in WV? Why should the totality of WV taxpayers pay to have a pk-12 school in Harman? I live in the county. I pay taxes on multiple properties here. I voted for the levy, and the bond. If we as a county wish to provide a region of our very large county a more expensive per student education to a rural community than the rest of the state, then that is on us. We had that choice two years ago and voted it down 60-40. How in all fairness can we ask the rest of the state to pay for what we chose not to pay for?

      I will support a bond that provides the funds to maintain the buildings we have that are worth keeping and replace those that are not. At some point, we in Randolph County, and we are not alone, need to have an adult conversation about the status of our buildings, and the intelligent conversation about whether to renovate, consolidate, build, or close facilities that is based on the present situation, not on real or perceived injustices of the past. It is about what is best for the children, right?

      • Paul

        Closure and consolidation based on neglect is a poor way to run any school system. Is it right to close Harman and have the SBA build a new school for less students in other counties and they certainly have.

        • The bookman

          I said it in a previous post, and I'll ask you. Is the status quo prior to the ceiling collapse the best we can do? According to estimates, we are looking at $175,000 to deal with just the collapse, $775,000 to remediate the entire building, and who knows how much once they start uncovering electrical, plumbing, heating, etc. Isn't it time we start asking the questions that need asked, instead of hiding from those questions fearing the answer? Is it the best answer to put the building back together and return to the status quo? Is it better to downsize, build a brand new building for PK-5 and send the middle and high school kids to Elkins? Is it better to send everyone to Elkins? Is it better to push for a renovated building?

          There are a myriad of possibilities that could be solutions. Take advantage of the spotlight. But my god, do not settle for the status quo. By all counts, that model was broken.

          • The bookman

            Paul,

            Then the citizens if Randolph County have the responsibility to step forward and pay for it. This thread began with someone suggesting the citizens of the state through the SBA owe the people of Harman a renovated school, and I say how? We failed a bond vote by a substantial margin which would have generated funds for maintenance of existing buildings, and was not a bond to consolidate or close schools. We can't have it both ways. If we want to keep small schools in local communities, then we must pay for it. And I'm fine with that, by the way. It's time we step up and be responsible for our school system, and stop thinking that somehow someone else will bail us out.

          • Paul

            Status Quo is not a worthy and acceptable goal for anyone but this state has closed hundreds of small schools by promising a better education with
            consolidation and longer bus rides. And we have now spent over one billion dollars on new school buildings and this state is still at the bottom in education (47th in the nation) according to latest Kids Count report. One should ask where could we be in this state with focus and the next billion being spent on renovations and, if necessary,replacement of buildings in the same community.

      • Bandit

        Its called consolidation. Like it or not, it needs to happen, and not just Harman coming to Elkins. There is several opportunities that Randolph County could take that would cut back on costs in the long run. Hell, I know kids from there that graduated from Pendelton County. This going to school in the neighboring counties has been going on for a while.

  • fed up

    2 comments.

    1) There is no mention that the high school students that are in vo tech already ride the bus over the mountain to elkins twice per day now.

    2) The Initial cost is a band aid to only fix the immediate issue. It will not fix the school as recent reports have said. So not all of the grades would be able to return regardless if the 175k is spent on the immediate problem anyway........

    SBA, has not in the past, given money for schools in the flood plain. (as this one is) So they will have to look at replacing the school within the community. A far reach as they have thus been unwilling to pass a bond levy to assist in paying.

    Sorry. Pony up, or live with it. And no I do not agree with the plan for such long bus trips. But someone has to be a realist.

    • northforkfisher

      I'm sorry but this school is not in the flood plain. The river is about 1/2 to 3/4 miles down the hill. I still think they should rent the community building and have school there.

      • The bookman

        I disputed it as well and looked it up on the flood plain map. Portions of the property do fall within the 100 year parameters as set forth by FEMA. It is due to the stream behind the building, not the Dry Fork.

        • bill

          Whats more dangerous a flood, which most areas are closed any how, or a school built next to an airport ? In this case flooding is nothing compared to a plane crashing into EHS or Midland, so lets rule flooding out

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Disruptions similar to that at Harman provide an opportunity (and an excuse) for local administrators to change the delivery of established education services.

    Stick by your school, parents. Accept nothing less. Make your wishes known-after all, those administrators are working FOR YOU.

    • The bookman

      Disruptions like this also provide the opportunity to evaluate all of the issues and available options before us. I ask anyone who is willing to look at this situation with an open heart AND an open mind. Is the status quo prior to the ceiling collapse the best we can do?

      • ViennaGuy

        +1

        • Bill

          We have 2 elememtary schools up the valley that should be closed before a K-12 school is, both Homestead and Valley Head Elem. should have been closed yrs ago.

  • Parent

    Harman secondary students do not have a certified math teacher. Why hasn't the Randolph County Board of Education posted the position?

    • A Parent also...

      Where did that come from! This has nothing to do with the article or the fight to save our school!

    • Bob

      Perhaps you should go to school to be the certified math teacher then.

    • peleliu

      What the heck does that have to do with the school being closed down (math teacher). So if they get a certified math teacher, the school automatically reopens?