Illicit Elementary

MON SCHOOLS PLEADS THE 5th

The new “green” elementary school to be sited at the soon to be four or five lane intersection of WV 705 and US 119 should henceforth be known as Illicit Elementary, because:

  • WV Department of Education Policy 6200, Article 202, Section 6 forbids it. This state policy bans new school sites that are not “located away from hazards and undesirable environments, such as…arterial highways, heavily traveled streets, traffic and congestion…noise…[and/or] situations where a combination of factors such as those presented above could contribute to the possibility of human entrapment.”
  • Monongalia County Schools evidently violated the Open Governmental Proceedings Act (WV Code, §6-9A) at the June 24 Woodburn Elementary closure public hearing, and the Policy Declaration of the WV Freedom of Information Act, §29B-1-1, and the West Virginia Constitution Article 2-2 by failing during the closure hearing to “ensure that the proceedings of [the] public agency” were “conducted in an open and public manner, so that the people may be informed about the actions of their governments and retain control over them,” which is how WV Attorney General Darrel McGraw explains the intent of “The State statute on Open Governmental Proceedings, sometimes called the Open Meetings or ‘Sunshine’ Act.” The meeting egregiously failed to meet the measure of the “Sunshine” Act declaration that “the citizens of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the governmental agencies that serve them” in that:
  1. “public servants” do not have “the right to decide what is good for [the people] to know and what is not good for them to know,” and that
  2. “the people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments of government created by them”
There is plenty of evidence to show that the public’s lawful sovereignty was denied, as was their lawful right to know, as was their lawful right to be informed for the purpose of “control over the instruments of government created by them” and for the purpose of educating themselves about their government through full “participation at government functions, distribution of government information…and public debate on issues…” Additionally, such transgressions badly undermine the many other vital positive consequences of open governmental proceedings spelled out in the Sunshine act (§ 6-9A-1). Evidence shows that all this was perpetrated upon the public during the Woodburn closure hearing and in the weeks prior and subsequent to the June 24 Woodburn closure hearing: the public was inexcusably deceived, either purposefully or mistakenly, by way of a striking pattern of disinformation, misinformation, and an equally inexcusable denial or lack of information to which the public has every right. This failure to inform or to mislead the public on the crucial facts of the new green school size, site, and composition, and other details, we have detailed previously, notably here:

June 24 2010 Woodburn closure Board of Education meeting minutes in quotes below:

BoE Minutes: “She [Susan Eason] questioned the Board about possible future redistricting [in relation to the proposed green school consolidation and closures]… Superintendent  Devono replied that redistricting was not on the table…”

By FOIA, we’ve shown that redistricting is so on the table that it is written into the grant proposal.

BoE Minutes: “Katy Ryan questioned the size of the new school with Superintendent Devono stating the school will be built to house 450 students.”

By FOIA, we’ve shown that, weeks earlier, Devono conveyed privately to architect Shriver that the “needs” of the new school are for about 700 students.

BoE Minutes: “She [Katy Ryan] wondered how the Mileground property emerged [as the preferred site for the green school]. Superintendent Devono…stated…that a main consideration for the consolidation is a central location for the two schools.

By FOIA, we’ve shown that Devono’s original preferred location was actually nearly a mile down route 705, which happens to be in North Elementary’s catchment basin. In any case, that spot is the exact distance from Easton school as the old UHS possible green school site, and less than two tenths of a mile closer than the Woodburn schoolgrounds possible green school site.

BoE Minutes: “Mr. [Paul] Adkins…asked the Board to look at the property around [the new Mountaineer Middle School/the old UHS site] owned by WVU…. He questioned why the site was not rated more highly in the site selection process. Superintendent Devono stated they could not get an appraisal and noted the additional costs of knocking down the buildings on the site.”

First, all the sites have particular “additional costs.”
Second, by FOIA we know that months earlier, by February 3rd, Mon Schools had an appraisal for the Mileground site. Why did it not appraise the MM/UHS site?
Third, still earlier, on January 26, WVU did in fact pass along to Mon Schools its appraisals of both
the Mileground site and the site Paul Adkins asked about, the land near the new MM/old UHS campus:

“i) Property adjacent to the new Middle School is $175,000.00/acre with acreage dependent upon a survey.
ii) Property behind RE Michaels (approximately 7.83 acres) is $325,000.00/acre for total of 2.5M.”

No appraisal? On the contrary, by FOIA we know that Mon Schools had an appraisal in hand showing the rejected land to be virtually half the price of the chosen Mileground site.

BoE Minutes: “Mr. Haddox questioned expansion on the Mileground site with Superintendent Devono stating none is planned at this time.”

Again, by FOIA we know that the email exchange between architect Shriver and Devono that Devono “needs” the new school to be about 700 students occurred in early June, weeks before the Woodburn closure meeting.

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