‘Slow and steady’ strategy on new WES

PARKERSBURG -School system officials plan to delay their funding presentation to the state for a new Williamstown Elementary School until late next year.

But officials said the delay won’t hinder the overall timeline for the school.

Wood County Schools Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling met with the board of education Tuesday to provide an update on the matter.

Officials had targeted making a presentation to the state School Building Authority (SBA) on Dec. 2. Instead, officials will go “slow and steady” and make a presentation in December 2014.

“That process has more finite details than what we have for presentation,” Fling said. “Do we hurry up (to make a presentation)? Or step back, organize ourselves and present a well-throughout process. …We will go slow and steady.”

Board president Tim Yeater said the new school can still be completed by the self-imposed 2015-2016 deadline. Missing the grant deadline next month is not a failure, he said.

“The work involved in this is huge,” Yeater said. “Timelines are important but not a failure to meet one of those dates.”

Officials talked about obtaining a planning grant from the SBA to proceed on plans for a new school. However, a site has not been selected and officials said there is still much work to be done before going to the SBA.

Fling and others recommended proceeding with the project and paying for planning of the project as needed from school system funds. The planning grant money can be requested from the SBA next year.

“The planning grant is a loan,” Fling said. “It is an intricate process and we don’t want to be rushed.”

Yeater said officials don’t want a new school for the sake of a new school. They want to construct a school that will last “50,60, 70 years down the road.”

School officials received a letter from state transportation officials offering input in the new school proposal related to ingress, egress and traffic.

Board members adjourned into executive session to consider property issues and a personnel evaluation. The session lasted an hour and 10 minutes.

The board took no action upon its return. However, school Superintendent Pat Law recommended the personnel matters addendum and budget supplements and transfers be pulled from consideration.

Board members claimed adequate notice wasn’t given to board members and the public.

Board members got a one hour and 40 minute presentation on the next generation standards. The presentation was tailored to answer questions directed to the board by Jim Mullen, who has appeared at numerous meetings to voice concerns.

“There have been a lot of questions; a lot of pointed questions directed at this board concerning Common Core,” said board member Jim Fox.

Mullen was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding and mistrust of government,” Law said. “When something new comes out, that lack of trust comes out. Common Core is nothing different.”

Law and the school officials and teachers who made the presentation all spoke favorably of the changes.

“The Common Core themes compare our students to others in other states,” Law said.