The Tip of the Iceberg

SECRETS AND LIES OF SITING THE SCHOOL

And so it is that the BOE, both the board and superintendent Devono, are fully intent upon siting the school district’s forthcoming green school at one of Morgantown’s most congested and high traffic and pricey intersections (land acquisition cost $2.275 million for 7 acres). Also undermined! (requiring $650,000 for mine-fill; or more!) Such is the current direction of Mon Schools. And they are aided and abetted in this by WVU.

It gets worse.

In an email obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, we learn in a 10/14/2009 email from WVU Director of Real Estate Services, Shannon Mundell, to WVU Vice President of Administration and Finance, Narvel Weese, that Mundell:

Had a brief discussion with Mr. Devono regarding WVU’s property near and around the Mileground. He [Devono] is needing approximately 8-10 acres (10 preferred for bus turnaround).

He was originally looking at the area across from Damon’s [down route 705], but as that is our sacred American Chestnut area, he is open to suggestions. Also, with school starting prior to 8:30, the Mileground area is another viable option (maybe behind Armory?).

Confidentially, the overflow from North [elementary] and [the entire student body of] Woodburn elementary will be placed in this school. …

Now isn’t that interesting. You see, the green school has all along been said in public by Mon Schools to be a consolidation of Easton elementary and Woodburn elementary, not a consolidation of Woodburn elementary and North elementary overflow.

It’s worth repeating:

“Confidentially, the overflow from North [elementary] and [the entire student body of] Woodburn elementary will be placed in this school.”

No mention of Easton elementary.

Presumably then, “confidentially,” former Easton school area students will be sooner or later rerouted to the newly capacious and relatively nearby Cheat Lake elementary, as overflow from bursting-at-the-seams North elementary instead fills the green school, along with former Woodburn area students.

Meanwhile, Mon School continues with the public charade of an Easton/Woodburn consolidation by scheduling (per announcement at last evening’s board meeting) an August 3rd 10:00 a.m. meeting (at Waterfront Place Hotel) between Easton and Woodburn principals, teachers, and community members, as well as with SBA director Mark Manchin, and an architect from WVU. All the board members and superintendent will be there, thus this meeting is totally open to the public, by law. (Just coincidentally, we can be sure, August 3rd is 3 convenient days before Mon Schools has stated it will release the FOIA information that has been requested of it – almost 4 weeks after the City, the County, WVU, and the SBA released their FOIA request information, pertaining to the green school siting.)

Obviously, given the information in the FOIA response above, North elementary area parents and concerned others should be there at the so-called Easton/Woodburn green school meeting as well.

Someone else, not to our knowledge invited either, should be there as well: Morgantown City Manager Dan Boroff. This would be an excellent opportunity for him to explain what “design” the City of Morgantown has on what “they hope to do with that building and property” which sits immediately adjacent to much of the proposed 705/Mileground green school. What further, fuller scenario is Mon Schools jumping into here? This from a 10/2/2009 email from Frank Devono to Shannon Mundell:

Shannon I have approached the city about armory property. Morgantown City Manager Boroff indicated that they have the rights to that property and that he will be working with the army to find them another site. Once the new armory is built the city will take control of that land and annex it into the city. He indicated the city has a design on what they hope to do with that building and property. I was hopeful to acquire land in this same area with the hope of constructing a new school for the students in that immediate location. I wanted to check the availability of acquiring land as I discuss this with the board. Is WVU interested in any of the land or property owned by the BOE?

Who knows? Maybe the vital information that City Manager Boroff might provide the public would help cause everyone to agree that the green school should actually be built one mile down the road, on expanded Woodburn school grounds, which are far less expensive, far more beautiful, far more quiet, far more community centered, far less traffic-choked and isolated, far better located to parks, to trails, and to Morgantown and University amenities than any school on the Mileground could ever be. And with good access to 4 major roads: 119, 857, 7, and 705.

“Confidentially, the overflow from North [elementary] and [the entire student body of] Woodburn elementary will be placed in this school.”

No mention of Easton elementary.

But we repeat.

The superintendent has some explaining to do.

This whole process has been inappropriately conducted, much of it secretly conducted, and the public has been misled for months on a variety of matters, as we continue to document.

The State Superintendent of Schools and the State Board of Education should step in, and put this entire process on hold.

The green school grant should be suspended or deferred for one year.

We need to save the green school from the Mileground, and the Mileground from the green school. We need to save Mon Schools from the Mileground, and the Mileground from Mon Schools.

We need to see the students and parents, the teachers and the schools, the public and its money much better served than we have remotely seen thus far.

Such is the view, at the tip of the iceberg.

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