CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Inside and out, Kanawha County continues to work toward opening the doors for the new Edgewood area elementary school.
School board members approved the transfer of 13 teachers to positions at the new school, as well as the purchase of maintenance bonds for infrastructure during a special meeting Monday.
The surety bonds will cost a little more than $237,000 and pertain to sewer lines running to the new school, board attorney Jim Withrow said. After the school system builds the lines, ownership will be transferred to the City of Charleston.
"The city requires that we post a bond to provide any kind of maintenance costs on those lines for a period of a year," Withrow said.
Any time the city incorporates new infrastructure into its system, it requires such bonds, Withrow said.
A surety bond requires that one party (in this case, the school system) pay another (the city) if it fails to meet an obligation. In this case, that means if the school system fails to deliver effective sewer lines, it might have to pay.
Withrow didn't expect any maintenance would be required on brand new lines but thought the contractor or project insurers would probably be responsible if it was. He thought the money for the bonds was already built in to the roughly $21 million project cost.
Board member Bill Raglin continues to point at the cost of the project when discussing expectations for the school. He thinks a pilot project proposed for the new school and others on Charleston's West Side could help meet those expectations.
He wasn't happy to see administrators ask to hire 13 teachers for the new school. A recommendation of the pilot project was to forgo seniority in the attempt to find the best-qualified teachers for the positions, which are considered unique.
He questioned whether that goal could be accomplished if the school was hiring teachers before Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin addresses the proposed pilot.
"We are asking as a primary selling point of this proposal that we've sent through ... was to give us a lot of latitude in staffing," Raglin said. "If we're going to do that before the proposal has at least been given some thorough consideration, are we not pulling out one of the major justifications?"
This is the third group of teachers to be hired for the school, and the qualifications outlined in the pilot project recommendations have been used each time, said Jane Roberts, assistant superintendent for elementary schools.
Superintendent Ron Duerring agreed.