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Judge refuses state request to hold off on his decision to grant Nicholas consolidation

A Kanawha County Circuit Court judge refuses a state request to hold off on his decision to grant the Nicholas County consolidation plan. (WCHS/WVAH)

A Kanawha County Circuit Court judge did not grant the West Virginia Board of Education’s request Tuesday to hold off on his decision to force the state agency to approve the Nicholas County consolidation plan.

On Aug. 18, Judge Duke Bloom Had ruled the state Board of Education had arbitrarily turned down the Nicholas County school board’s consolidation plan. Bloom on Tuesday gave the state board three choices:

* Pass the Nicholas plan conditionally to the outcome of the state board’s appeal to the state Supreme Court.

* Get a stay, but only by posting a $130 million bond. Nicholas County wants the state board to post a $130 million bond if it gets the delay.

* Do nothing and be in contempt.

The central issue in the flap is whether flood destroyed schools in Richwood should be rebuilt there or a central location near Summersville. But the legal issue is whether or not the state arbitrarily replaced the county board's judgement with its own.

Under the Nicholas board’s plan, five schools would be closed and would be consolidated into two schools.

Richwood High School, Nicholas County High School and the Nicholas County Career and Technical Center would be closed and consolidated into one school. Summersville Middle School and Richwood Middle School also would be closed and consolidated into one school.

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