ROMNEY — In the wake of passing the school bond in June, the planning, design and construction of the new schools will be moving forward right on schedule, if not ahead of it.

On Aug. 13, school board president Debbie Champ sent a letter to the School Building Authority in Charleston to make a case that the funding for Hampshire County Schools be given consideration on a “normal” schedule.

Since 2020 has been anything but normal, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the SBA’s meeting schedule, and it originally looked like the consideration for the funding wouldn’t be given until April 2021, setting the county pretty far behind the 8 ball.

Ernie Dellatorre, architect with McKinley Architecture and Engineering said there was a chance the approval could happen as soon as this month, but with a response from David Roach, director of the WV SBA presented by Champ at Monday night’s meeting, it’s more likely the timeframe will be right on schedule, with Hampshire County’s approval set for the SBA’s December meeting.

“Please be advised that the SBA is having a December quarterly meeting, which was not previously announced on our website,” Roach wrote. “While we are unable to put your request on our September agenda, I am pleased to announce that it will be placed on our December agenda, if not sooner.”

Also at Monday night’s meeting, the board approved fundraisers at Augusta Elementary, Romney Elementary, Romney Middle, Springfield-Green Spring Elementary and Hampshire High.

The HHS fundraisers were the only events that caused friction among the board, with the issue of girls and boys soccer, boys basketball and baseball selling concessions at WVU.

At their last meeting, the board debated sending HHS students to Morgantown during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing as Mon County has been in the Red Zone over the last few weeks.

“I’m probably more adamantly opposed to that one at this time than I was at the last meeting,” Champ said Monday.

Board member Dee Dee Rinker backed Champ, adding, “It’s not going to get any better for a long time, not with all of those kids. Why would we expose anyone to it?”

The WVU concession fundraisers were put to a vote by the board, and it passed 3-2, with Rinker and Champ voting against approval.

However, the caveat is that Mon County has to be in the Green Zone, a prospect that board member Bernie Hott called “far-fetched.”

“Our students’ health isn’t for sale,” Champ said. “I don’t care what they pay us.”

Superintendent Jeff Pancione also presented his goals for the 2020-21 academic year at the Monday night meeting. These goals were to promote student achievement by setting high expectations/standards and monitoring instructional activities in schools, and to comprehend and promote financial education and c) to lead and direct the School Bond passage to construction.

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