Students celebrated, repairs discussed during Mon BOE meeting

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia Board of Education (BOE) raised the roof during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Then, it talked about the repairs that roof, along with other infrastructure, might need in coming months.

First, the roof-raising: The board recognized teams of students from Westwood and Suncrest middle schools who will soon be under the national spotlight for technical prowess.

Westwood’s VEX Robotics Team will advance to national finals in Louisville, Ky., next month, after recently placing high in state competition.

Two Suncrest Middle Science Bowl teams, both ofwhich took first and second-place trophies in the recent West Virginia tournament, were also applauded by the BOE.

Suncrest’s first-place winner for West Virginia will now defend its science honors in Washington, D.C., also next month.

“And the parents get to drive,” quipped BOE President Barbara Parsons, while those parents and teachers who filled the board’s meeting room laughed.

Infrastructure-talk followed the applause.

After hearing a breakdown by Superintendent Frank Devono, board members voted to shift some of the money it got last year in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) for the replacement of heating and air-conditioning units at Westwood.

McLiney and Company, a financial consulting firm in Mission, Kan., helped the board obtain the money last fall.

Last fall, the BOE received $2 million in QZAB funding to replace similar units at Mountainview Elementary, Suncrest Primary and the Monongalia County Technical Education Center.

The superintendent also asked board members to consider working further with McLiney and Company on other heating and cooling replacement projects for other schools.

Ed McLiney, of the firm, was at the meeting and told board members the outlay would come in a 12-to-15-year loan.

If the BOE got a better deal, even after signing an agreement, McLiney said, his firm would step aside.

“Bear in mind, Board,” Devono said, “that we still do not know how much we would need to borrow.”

Devono said McLiney’s offer might be better than soliciting monies through the state School Building Authority, which is year-to-year, with the definite possibility of being turned down.