CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Harrison County Board of Education (BOE) held a vote on Tuesday night regarding the potential consolidation of several area schools, including Liberty and Robert C. Byrd high schools.
In front of a crowd of concerned residents, the BOE voted unanimously to move forward with its plan to consolidate six of its local schools into three. The details can be found below.
- Liberty HS and Robert C. Byrd HS consolidate into the Robert C. Byrd building
- Mountaineer Middle and Washington Irving Middle consolidate into the Liberty building
- Northview Elementary and Salem Elementary consolidate into the Mountaineer Middle building
The consolidation of the local schools is not planned to go into effect until the 2025–26 school year.
The vote was preempted by at least 30 people in attendance who offered to speak and give their own solutions. Some people suggested that the middle schools be combined into the existing high schools instead of consolidating at every level.
Another concerned speaker represented the service staff that works at the schools and said employees have received no information about what will happen to them after consolidation.
Some Liberty parents said they planned on pulling their children out of school and would opt to do online school or homeschool if the schools consolidate. Members of Liberty’s staff also threatened to resign if the schools consolidated.
While more steps are still involved in moving forward with consolidation, Tuesday’s vote was the first step in that process, which also includes public meetings and impact statements. The state school board would also have to approve any final plans for consolidation.
The controversial vote has been the subject of rumor throughout the county for about a month after Harrison County superintendent Dora Stutler announced the county’s plan to consolidate the schools during a work session.
The consolidation plans come just months after Norwood Elementary in Stonewood had to undergo an emergency closure just weeks before the school year began, which officials have said is likely permanent but required an official vote during Tuesday’s meeting. During the meeting, BOE officials voted to close the school. It is uncertain at this time what the school board will do with the building.
Students from Norwood have been in a strange position over the past few months as the population has been split between Simpson Elementary and Nutter Fort Primary/Intermediate. Tuesday’s vote provides a more concrete solution and will provide additions to both Simpson and Nutter Fort in order to accommodate the increased population.