Over the past six months, CBI has led a complex mediation process in West Virginia to develop a plan to rebuild three schools in Nicholas County that were destroyed by flooding in June 2016. At the heart of the issue was a proposal by the County Board of Education to use FEMA recovery funds to consolidate all three schools, as well as the county’s career and technical center, in a centralized location. This plan would have removed a flood-affected middle and high school from a town at the southeast edge of the county, which residents felt would devastate their community, economy, and opportunities for development. The West Virginia Board of Education rejected the county’s consolidated plan, a decision affirmed by the West Virginia Supreme Court in August 2017, leading to an impasse.

Hired by FEMA, CBI launched a mediation process, which involved three negotiation sessions, interspersed by a county-wide public meeting, to collect input on a draft proposal. In April, the mediation team proposed a mutually agreeable approach that would involve rebuilding a community middle and high school nearby their previous locations, while relocating the county’s career and technical center with the other middle and high school to a comprehensive campus in the county’s center. This plan was approved by full boards of the Nicholas County Board of Education, the West Virginia Board of Education, and the state’s School Building Authority the week of May 7, 2018.

To read more about this case: