CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State School Building Authority officials say West Virginia’s first inter-county elementary school, built with $10.3 million in SBA money, has only about 60 percent of the students planned for it.
The school, Leading Creek Elementary, consolidated Troy Elementary, in Gilmer County and Alum Bridge Elementary, in Lewis County. It was built with 240 students in mind, and can hold as many as 280, said Scott Raines, the SBA’s architectural services director.
But only about 150 students attend the new school, Raines said, because Gilmer school officials haven’t redistricted some students from another school, Sand Fork Elementary. Also, he said, Gilmer school buses are taking some students from the former Troy attendance area farther south to Glenville Elementary instead of to Leading Creek.
Leading Creek Principal Kim Freeland agreed with Raines. She finds it unusual that Gilmer County is providing buses to help their students attend the more distant Glenville Elementary.
The school opened this fall. Freeland said it’s beautiful, and students from both counties have come together as a family. But she said she believes the low enrollment is a financial hardship for Lewis County, which is responsible for the school’s finances and has to pay for its utilities and upkeep. The state school aid funding formula doles out money largely based on enrollment, and Leading Creek students are counted as Lewis students despite the building being on the county line.
Freeland said she has five rooms that were intended for classes, but are now being used for other purposes…