WJCC Board approves funding for fourth middle school

WJCC school board approves funding new fourth middle school.

WILLIAMSBURG — In a 5 to 2 vote, the WJCC School Board voted to use the revenue from bond sales to fund the construction of a fourth middle school. 

Board Chair Jim Kelly, Vice Chair Kyra Cook, and members Julie Hummel, James Beers and Mary Minor all voted in favor of the motion; Holly Taylor and Sandy Young opposing. Both Taylor and Young have been outspoken opponents of the project.

Under the terms of the resolution, the county and school district are asking the Economic Development Authority to sell bonds, as they have in the past for other large-scale projects.

The county will then set aside funds each year to pay back the EDA, and the county will sign the lease of Toano Middle School over to the Authority as collateral.

Known as a lease/leaseback deal, the county has used a similar mechanism to finance the construction of Matoaka and Blayton elementary schools and Hornsby Middle School, according to Sue Mellen, the county's Financial and Management Services Director.

Although the fourth middle school has dominated much of the conversation during citizen comment periods at recent board meetings, none of the usual opponents spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Young, who has said she has several unanswered questions about the project, proposed a motion at the beginning of the meeting to change the agenda item from an action item to a discussion item. The motion failed, however, with only Taylor joining Young in support.

The Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote on funding Tuesday night as well.

The final approval for the project to advance will need to come from the authority on Thursday night. Since each body is party to the deal, each approve it individually.

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