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Jefferson County Schools

P.O. Box 987

Charles Town, West Virginia 25414

(304) 725-9741

(304) 725-6487 Fax


Superintendent                                                                                                             Board Members

Dr. Steven Nichols                                                                                                           Dr. Lori Stilley, President

                                                                                                                                       Delores Milstead, VP

                                                                                                                                       Doris M. Cline

                                                                                                                                       Cheryl Huff

                                                                                                                                       Paul R. Manzuk




The Honorable James Ruland

Chairman, County Commission

Jefferson County Government

104 East Washington Street

Charles Town, WV 25414


Dear Chairman Ruland:


I would like to introduce myself as the new Superintendent of Schools for Jefferson County.  I hope in the near future to meet you personally, and endeavor to find ways in which the school system and County Commission can best work together for the children we both serve and their families.


Today I write to express concerns I have about the development of this community and the inability of schools to keep pace.  This morning’s mail contained notice of a subdivision review meeting to be held by the Planning Commission.  This document informs me there are likely to be an additional 469 housing units approved (if all goes according to the developer’s plan).


While I am not opposed to growth, I am facing a crisis in that as a school system I cannot hang a “sorry-full” sign on our doors.  We must accept all children and at this time we are not able to keep up with growth, even though we are working diligently to seek additional school funding, supporting impact fees, and a host of other initiatives to relieve the situation.


Presently, I am offering some suggested changes to the existing county ordinances that directly affect school population.  I am hopeful this will start a discussion that might provide some relief, while still permitting growth.


Under the Subdivision Ordinance (section 7.1) contains the following paragraph:


         “Particularly under the category of Social Impacts…adequacy of available public

           and private services to meet the demands expected from the subdivision proposal

           as fully developed.  Statements of adequacy from appropriate service agencies may

           be submitted in this regard.”





The Honorable James Ruland

Chair, County Commission

Page  2



I would request that consideration be given to insert between these two sentences a new sentence that addresses our school situation in particular, and other services in general.  That sentence should read:


The development proposal should not be approved (except under very specific, special circumstances) until adequacy can be shown. 


Consideration should also be given to the word “available,” since it might be more precise to substitute “existing or planned/ financed.”


Under the Zoning Review Ordinance (section 6.4 e) the awarding of points used in the decision making process refers to simply “proximity to schools.”  This is not the issue—the issue for schools is simply space to house them, therefore, I would encourage an addition of the phrase “with sufficient capacity for students generated by the project” immediately following any ordinance reference to proximity to schools.


Certainly, I can appreciate the challenge you and the Commission face, just as I’m sure you can appreciate my challenges.  I am seeking some help with the growth of our school system at a time when adequate funding does not exist.  I am aware that the changes I propose will have effects upon our county, but as the Board of Education and I work together to address our issues; I am simply asking for some assistance from the Commission.


Thank you for your support and consideration of my requests.







                                                      Dr. Steven Nichols