CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The mediation team to decide the future of new schools in Nicholas County was announced at a state Board of Education meeting Tuesday.
The team will consist of members of the Nicholas County Board of Education and the state Board and a mediator, who will be responsible for determining the future of schools damaged or destroyed in the June 2016 flood.
The state board twice rejected plans to combine five schools — Richwood Middle and Summersville Middle schools and Nicholas County and Richwood High Schools, along with the Career and Technical Education Facility — into one institution.
Stacie Smith, senior mediator with Consensus Building Institute, said it is her job to help all parties reach a compromise on new schools in the area.
“We are asking for confidentiality for the negotiations themselves,” she said. “The purpose of that confidentiality is not to shut people out of what’s going on, but rather allow freedom to explore ideas just outside of the public eye, knowing that there’s also a significant component of public engagement.”
The mediation process will include Nicholas County Schools Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick, Board of Education President Gus Penix and board member Fred Amick, in addition to state Superintendent Steve Paine, state Board of Education President Tom Campbell and Vice President Dave Perry.
Smith said the team has to negotiate with each other if they want a deal made, and should not use their own bodies to make decisions.
“It’s really an attempt to find a concurrance that everybody can live with,” she said.
Mediation has to be completed by June 15 in order to not lose any funds from FEMA.