Green School Report Card: F

THE LOCAL AND STATE FAILURE

Is there a penalty for Monongalia County Schools operating two schools overcapacity this past school year (Suncrest and North Elementaries)? The state and local figures show that is the case.

Does the WV Department of Education intend to act on the fact that it has been publicly revealed that Monongalia County Schools continuously lied to the public about the intended green school size, its potential location, and student body composition in the months before and in the months after the Easton and Woodburn Elementaries’ closure hearings, and continuing to the present? FOIA is a wonderful thing.

Is the fact that the WV School Building Authority is going deep into phase 2, the Schematic Design phase, of the green school grant to Monongalia County without the grantee having title to the land to build on 1) legal, 2) standard or regulated, 3) advisable?

Must the WV State Board of Education and the WV Department of Education each still approve both the green school grant to Monongalia Schools and its 2010-2020 CEFP calling for the closure of Easton and Woodburn to be consolidated into the green school? All remains to be decided, yes? If so, when and where?

Why would any of the agencies named above approve a last minute, scandalous, extremely risky, and completely uncertain facility siting project at one of Morgantown’s recently documented most dangerous (and congested and polluted) intersections on its most dangerous road, route 705 – the first and only public school to be on any of the most dangerous intersections, and the first to be even anywhere on this most dangerous and congested road?

Where is the local assessment of how the horrible outdoor air quality at this congested high traffic intersection would affect the indoor air quality of the new large “green” elementary school intended to go there? Recent prominent studies demonstrate that the air at such locations damages children for life.

How does the WV Department of Education justify Monongalia County Schools paying West Virginia University 2.3 million dollars for 7 acres of which little more than 5 are usable and of which an estimated “over 70 percent” are mined out, huge mine voids a few dozen feet below the entire 7 acres, which would cost perhaps a million dollars or more to grout beneath the school buildings alone, which can only merely reduce the risk of subsidence and damage?

How to justify the frankly asinine and negligent and fraudulent intersection school siting especially when the school could be well built on existing Woodburn schoolgrounds – owned and operated for 100 years by the BoE – not undermined, not polluted, not on a screaming loud commuter and commercial strip but in a quiet beautiful hilltop residential neighborhood, a unique area in its own right that also has good access to downtown, parks, and the outskirts?

Oh, that’s right, at the Woodburn schoolgrounds there is plenty of room to build a spectacular green elementary school to the grant size of 450 students but not room enough to easily expand it to the previously secret size of about 700 students that the Superintendent has been secretly and deceitfully planning with the architects, just as he has been secretly and deceitfully planning school location and redistricting. It’s public now. And oh the lies.

The WV Department of Education knows about the private wheelings and dealings that have been going on. Or, it should, because the public knows, now that we’ve FOIAed the facts into sunlight. The lies of the West Virginia Superintendent of the Year now stand there glaring in full light, just as Mon Schools’ public neglect and negligence has glared all along. What does the WV Department of Education intend to do about it? Federal money is involved in the WV SBA green school grant. Should state and federal prosecutors be involved?

Should some responsible officials step forward and simply pull the plug on the green school grant?

If state officials and agencies step in to finally stop this fraudulent and negligent school siting process, what becomes of the ongoing neglect suffered by Easton and Woodburn Elementaries? The back-up site for the green school referred to in the grant is the Woodburn schoolgrounds. A great site. Dr. Mark Manchin Director of the WV School Building Authority has been met in his Charleston office and reminded of that as well.

Dr. Mark Manchin of the WV School Building Authority stands at the center of this scandalous situation as Director of the granting agency, as does the WV State Superintendent of the Year, Frank Devono of Monongalia County Schools, there with the state/federal (ARRA) 11.5 million dollar grant to build the state’s premier green school, which is to be in Manchin’s words, “the crown jewel of sustainable buildings in West Virginia.” Manchin wants “people from all over to see one of the best green schools in the US.” So he declared in an August Morgantown green school “kickoff” meeting that was “technically not open to the public.” (How many public school facility “kickoff” meetings are not open to the public? The school-hired architectural firm paid for catering. The school district, one assumes, rented the private conference facilities…in the summer, with all the school buildings sitting empty. These are small points but add to the larger impropriety and abuse.)

What “people from all over” would see at that congested high traffic commuter and commercial intersection and intended school site instead of a “crown jewel” of a green school is a money-burning tragedy, scandal, and farce under continuous risk of huge legal action, for which both the local school district and the state, obviously, would be potentially liable.

A green school, indeed.

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