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Cabell BOE to meet Wednesday

January 2, 2019

HUNTINGTON — T he Cabell County Board of Education will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, instead of its regular first Tuesday meeting, in observance of New Year’s Day. The regular meeting will be at the district’s central office at 2850 5th Ave. in Huntington.

The agenda includes a proposed change order for the ongoing construction at Davis Creek Elementary School. The $1,948 project will allot for an additional sidewalk trench drain on the property to be completed by C.J. Hughes Construction Co. The project would be paid for through the county’s Permanent Improvement fund.

Two school field trips for students at Huntington High School are also up for approval.

Huntington High’s Speech and Debate team will travel to Durham, North Carolina, Jan. 18-21 to participate in a tournament.

The school’s Latin students will travel to Morgantown Feb. 21-22 to compete in the Latin Convention.

Both trips will be paid for through school funds.

The board may also vote to enter an interagency agreement with Valley Health Systems to provide hands-on learning for students at Cabell Midland and Huntington high schools.

Health science students would be allowed to observe and earn clinical training at the Huntington-based medical network. The board has entered into similar interagency agreements with at least a dozen other local health care businesses.

In non-voting matters, the board plans to discuss the district’s coming update to its Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan and explore the option of enlisting consulting services for the planning process.

The CEFP is a nonbinding assessment of all the facilities in the district’s possession and is meant to serve as a road map for district officials in terms of managing its buildings. The plan is updated every 10 years — last set in 2010 — meaning the current board will take up the matter through 2019.

At the time the CEFP was written in 2010, Cabell County Schools owned 28 schools and

was exploring plans to downsize to 22 schools by selling properties that are vacant as well as closing some older schools and consolidating them into new facilities or existing schools.

The original 2010 CEFP outlined the closure of Davis Creek and Hite-Saunders and consolidation of their student bodies into a newly constructed facility. That objective was later amended to close only Davis Creek, merge it with Martha Elementary School and use the bond surplus to add classrooms and other learning space to Martha Elementary.

However, after public outcry to save Davis Creek, the board opted to abandon both proposals.

The closure and consolidation of Nichols and Ona elementary schools into a new facility was also recommended in the original CEFP, as well as the closure and disbursal of students from Meadows Elementary.

However, the board voted in March 2018 to spare Nichols, Meadows, Hite-Saunders, Ona and Davis Creek from considerations for closure for the 2010-20 CEFP. The matter will likely be discussed again when planning the coming 2020-30 plan.

Superintendent of Schools Ryan Saxe has stated his opposition to consolidation at the elementary school level and has advocated for the small community school model. Saxe told the board at the March vote that the county can properly maintain and update the older facilities for the foreseeable future.

The Cabell County Board of Education regularly meets the first and third Tuesday of each month. Meetings are always open to the public.

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