CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – Rumors of potential consolidation of schools involving Liberty High School had been swirling around for a few weeks. And on Thursday, Superintendent of Harrison County Schools Dora Stutler presented the Board of Education with her proposal to consolidate two high schools, two middle schools and two elementary schools.
At the meeting, there was some confusion on what the difference is between a consolidation and merger means. 12 News spoke to the superintendent and she broke down what the two different actions are:
In a merger, one school is dissolved and the other school continues under the same name, just with the added students from the dissolved school. Stutler gave the example that in a merger, Liberty would be absorbed by RCB. Stutler said as RCB already has a code number and is established by the state as a high school, they will continue to recognize it as such and no new school name or code would be developed. Everyone would be under the RCB umbrella.
“A merger is simply the current staff at Liberty merging into the staff that’s there. So in that case, a merger would be RCB staff maintain their positions and then we create new positions for the Liberty staff,” Stutler said.
A merger is similar to what happened with Norwood Elementary School in Harrison County earlier this year.
In a consolidation, both schools are dissolved and a new school with their combined staff and students.
“A consolidation is if you’re creating a brand new school, the state would recognize that as a brand new school. So you would have Robert C. Byrd and Liberty, and we’re gonna create a brand new school, and those would all be placed on transfer and the staff would be placed by seniority into the positions. All positions would be available in that building,” Stutler explained.
Stutler emphasized that in either scenario, all faculty and staff including service staff positions would have a job. Some positions may not be the same but it will be within the area of their expertise and what they are certified to do. “And the one thing I did say, and I did promise this, is that we’ll be overstaffed. We will have a school with plenty of folks there to run that school.”
Additional meetings will be held in the coming weeks to continue the discussion of possible mergers or consolidations for Liberty and Robert C. Byrd high schools, Mountaineer and Washington Irving middle schools, and Salem and North View elementary schools.