CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After months of parents voicing concerns about a redistricting plan proposed to let South Hills schools address overcrowding, the Kanawha County Board of Education is leaning more toward expanding John Adams Middle School instead of changing attendance zones in the area.
"I believe there is a majority of members on the board who would much rather enlarge the school than destroy a district," said Kanawha County school board President Pete Thaw. "If we add on to John Adams, that would solve the problem. We wouldn't have to redistrict at all."
The John Adams expansion would cost about $1.5 million, and the board is determined to find ways to provide funding without burdening taxpayers, Thaw said.
John Adams currently enrolls more students than any other middle school in the county, and when the board discussed redrawing elementary attendance zones to feed some of the overflow into the South Charleston district, many parents were outraged.
At a board meeting last month, parents suggested establishing a bond to fund the John Adams expansion and offered to help find private funding as well.
Thaw said private is the way to go.
"A bond won't sell. I am not interested in a bond issue at all. I believe we can raise the money privately, and I prefer that to taxing the people," he said. "We don't know exactly how we are going to raise the money yet, but there are ways to do it without indebting the taxpayers."
Thaw said he knows one outlet the board will not get the money from: the School Building Authority. The agency, which distributes money to improve schools across the state each year, has denied the request for funding a John Adams expansion in the past.
"We will have to go find the funding for this because it won't be from the SBA. They've made that very clear," Thaw said.