Thought of new schools brings controversy to joint workshop in Bristol, Virginia

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL)- The Bristol Virginia Board of Education wants to upgrade three elementary schools- Highland View, Stonewall Jackson and Washington-Lee.

Last week school officials opened bidding for improvements last week. But, those bids exceeded the $200,000 allotted by the Bristol, Virginia City Council. Both boards decided to go in a different direction.

The school board voted to reject all bids for new security and ADA improvements at those elementary schools. Those bids totaled to be a little over $460,000.

“I thought it was a little bit too high for us to be able to afford…we believe that we can hire some additional staff and take on those projects ourselves,” said Superintendent Dr. Keith Perrigan.

But, the town says new schools just aren’t the best option financially.

“I don’t support this BVA discussion…never have…I don’t like it…we’ve got to figure out a way to get the cash we need to start buying schools,” says city council member Kevin Mumpower.

Among the many issues the aging elementary schools are bringing, Perrigan says the driving force is to become more ADA compliant.

“I think we have a short term plan to make our schools safer for our students and our families with special needs,” says Perrigan.

Mayor Neal Osborne says that eventually the town would like to build a new school- but financially- it just isn’t something that can be planned for.

“Long term- I don’t think its the best idea to put money into old buildings but we have to do this anyway,” said Osborne.

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