Mayor of Richwood issues open letter about school consolidation


Oh, Dear Readers,

How did we come to this obscenity? Tonight, based on faulty “pre-selected” data and the most pessimistic projections for Nicholas County’s ten-year future imaginable, the BOE will vote to annihilate Richwood High School and Richwood Middle School, along with others using the dangerous experimental FEMA 428 Program. Richwood is being used as a guinea pig. Just incredible.

I’ve known since the dedication of the Red Gym was remodeled many months ago by our good Governor Jim Justice. The Superintendent told me that night, ” I can’t even promise I’m going to do everything POSSIBLE to return the flooded schools to Richwood.” That would have been merely a promise to try. She couldn’t even do that. In fact, she has done nothing to restore Richwood. Absolutely nothing. But the City of Richwood has done backflips to help the BOE, despite everything else we’ve been through.

Now much has been made of the big new complex that will be 30 VERY long and treacherous miles away from Richwood over some of the iciest roads in the state. Just last week the Superintendent failed to call a two-hour delay because of “poor data” and buses were turned sideways in the roads. Fortunately, nobody got hurt, this time. But we are supposed to trust hundreds of millions of dollars with this new Superintendent who knows her County so little that she is unaware that when Summersville has a dusting, we might have 2-3 inches of snow? The Superintendent doesn’t know where we live geographically, culturally, or spirituality. She doesn’t know us at all, and sadly, she doesn’t care, or this consolidation proposal would not be a reality. And the Board, which does know us and should know better, have left us mentally and in our greatest time of need, all to save a few plug nickels ten years from now.

Much has been made of what good people they are, how tough they’ve had it, etc. We’re sorry, but we’re just not feeling that. Guess good people can make horrible decisions based on cooked data.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It shouldn’t have been.

Just remember: FEMA WILL pay for 3 schools and consolidation was NEVER in the plan. THIS FLOOD HAS BEEN USED AS AN EXCUSE TO CONSOLIDATE! So don’t feel guilty about standing STRONG against the theft of our schools AND the death rattle they are shaking in front of us. We’ve been through hell here and it’s FEMA’s mission to restore THE effected community–that devastated Community IS RICHWOOD, not the Nicholas County BOE or Summersville with its power brokers who have backed Richwooders into a corner and blame us now for protesting this outrageous opportunistic theft. Talk about passive aggressive behavior, we’ve seen it on steroids and it’s ugly as sin. On balance, we’ve probably been damn polite. In Richwood, we are like that. Sharing, kind, good-hearted. We couldn’t even have hatched a vile plan like this. It simply wouldn’t have been in our frame of reference, to profit over another’s misfortune. But when the lawless break into your house to plunder and pillage, you must fight back hard with everything you’ve got. It might be a matter of life or death. Flight (that’s not Lumberjacks) or fight. We choose to fight. That’s not unnatural, it’s human nature. Protect your tribe, protect your people, protect your family, protect your children, and most of all–protect your future.

We’re going to. And we’re going to get our schools back. Mark my words…. the BOE’s scam plan will not stand.


Dr. Bob Henry Baber, Mayor of Richwood

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