Mineral County BOE sets public hearings for school closures
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER – The Mineral County Board of Education has set the wheels in motion for the eventual closure of three Frankfort District schools and the resultant opening of a new Frankfort Primary School.
In a special meeting held Thursday evening, board president Lara Courrier made the motion to approve the reasons for the closures, and to authorize superintendent of schools Troy Ravenscroft to publish the required legal advertisements for three upcoming public hearings on the proposal.
During the hearings, members of the public, as well as county employees, can appear in person and comment either for or against the closures.
The public hearings are all three set up for March 29 at Frankfort High School and will be held at the following times:
5 p.m.: Frankfort Intermediate School
6 p.m.: Fort Ashby Primary School
7 p.m.: Wiley Ford Primary School
Should any of the three hearings not take the allotted hour, the next hearing will be begun immediately after. Should the hearings need more time, the meetings will be cut off at 11 p.m. and recessed until March 30.
Should inclement weather cause the postponement of the hearings, they will all be rescheduled for March 30.
Anyone wishing to submit a written comment about the proposed closures must turn them in to the central office “before the conclusion of the last hearing.”
Courrier said the hearings will also be made available virtually due to ongoing COVID concerns.
At the conclusion of the hearings, the board may take formal action at that time toward the proposed closures.
Board vice president Mary Jane Baniak seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Courrier said the consolidation “is projected to take effect with the 2023-2024 school year.”
The construction of the new school of course depends upon funding. Ravenscroft has submitted a request to the West Virginia School Building Authority for $19 million, with approximately $2 million to be added to that from local funding. Announcement of those projects chosen by the SBA is expected in April.
Ravenscroft emphasized during Thursday’s special meeting that their purpose at that time was “not to approve or disapprove, it’s simply to begin the process as required by (state) code.”
The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Tuesday, March 2, at 6 p.m. at Keyser Middle School.