Wood County BOE fails to vote on Williamstown school site

PARKERSBURG – Members of the Wood County Board of Education spent about 40 minutes in executive session Tuesday and emerged without comment or vote, giving no direction to school system officials seeking guidance on the proposed sites for the new Williamstown Elementary School.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling spent a few minutes Tuesday fielding some limited questions from board members about the possible sites for the new school.

The Williamstown High School football field (owned by the board) and parts of the Fenton Art Glass property have been tagged as potential sites.

“We can lay out a portion of the ground work, but this is still very preliminary,” Fling said. He said he was asking board members to select a site and permit officials to negotiate with the property owner.

Fling limited many of his responses to board members’ questions. Fling told board members he wasn’t comfortable discussing numbers without the property owner present.

Acting board president Jim Fox asked Fling what measures would be taken to ensure there are no environmental issues. Fling said core samples and studies will be done separate from the owners’ studies.

“Who pays for it?” board member Tad Wilson asked.

“That’s part of the negotiations,” Fling said. “There are two ways to go with this.”

Board member John Marlow asked when Fenton property officials would be willing to share core samples findings.

“If we have a letter of intent to move toward the purchase he will share those,” Fling said.

“Is there money with the letter of intent?” Wilson asked.

“Yes,” Fling replied.

Fling stressed nothing was being decided regarding the new school or a site.

“This is a sketch. This is a foot print,” he said. “We are not designing the school tonight.”

The board, which had no attorney present, moved into executive session to consider matters involving or affecting the purchase, sale or lease of property.

When the board returned to the meeting, there was no action or discussion on the matter.

In other matters:

* Millie Stoneking read a resolution in support of a proposed employee state pay raise. The West Virginia Education Association kicked off a campaign earlier this year. Stoneking, the WVEA’s county representative, sought the board’s endorsement.

“I support it. To me it is a no-brainer,” Fox said. The resolution was later unanimously approved.

Under board member comments and concerns, Marlow asked Superintendent Pat Law if he planned to retire next year, noting his contract expires in June. Law said he has not yet made a final decision.

“I hope to have information to the board about the first of the year,” he said.

“If so, we need to move forward,” Marlow replied.