"So we should be taxing people on the assumption that we're gonna get a cracker plant? Or some large entity?" Thaw said Monday in a phone interview. "You can't tax on the assumption you're going to get this that or the other . . . We can't just tax the people to death."
Kanawha County anticipates the John Adams project will cost about $1.13 million and had asked the authority for $1 million. Preservati suggested lowering the authority's contribution to $750,000 to send the message that the authority does not approve of the cap.
That puts Kanawha County on the hook for $250,000 more that it hoped to put toward the project. However, Duerring and Thaw didn't think finding the money would be a problem.
Facing redistricting, a group of parents and community members with interests in John Adams and the South Hills community recently offered to raise money for the addition. Duerring and Thaw both thought raising $250,000 would be a substantially easier goal than $1 million.
"I'll tell you the place it won't come from, and that's the taxpayers," Thaw said. "We're going to get it from the developer or a private source, or we'll have to cut some other piece of cloth."
Allen Bell is the developer of The Ridges, a multimillion-dollar housing development on the border between South Hills and South Charleston. He has told the board in the past that many families moved into the neighborhood for its schools, and redistricting the area to South Charleston would hurt property values.
He proposed helping raise the funds needed to build the addition at John Adams. He'd originally planned on trying to raise all of the funds needed, so Monday he was happy with the authority's decision.
"I think that was a pleasant surprise for everyone, and I'm very excited," Bell said.
Charleston law firm Jackson Kelly PLLC is helping Bell create a nonprofit organization to collect the additional funds. He already has pledged $25,000 to the project and hopes other businesses in the area will contribute as well.
The authority's decision doesn't immediately or permanently fix the problems at John Adams and in South Hills.
Facilities Director Chuck Wilson said the county would start designing the project soon. It needed to submit an initial design to the authority, but he said it would still take a few months to get the finished product.
From there, he thought construction could take nine months to a year. The county will move some of the portables during construction, and phase students into the building as construction continues, Wilson said. He thought the addition could be ready for students by the spring of 2014 or the start of school the following fall.
In no way does this address the continued population growth in that attendance area, Duerring said.
"If you take a look at Southridge, it's just exploding out there," he said.
"Not in the immediate future, but we're going to have to take a look at how many units are being built, how many of those are moving in with families and determine then whether or not we need to look at another school or whatever because there are just that many housing plans going in up there," he said.
Duerring said the school system still would consider some redistricting across the county in February.
Projects in Cabell, Doddridge, Fayette, Grant, Mercer, Ohio and Upshur counties also received funds from the authority Monday.