The Fayette County Board of Education gave approval Tuesday for Supt. Helen Whitehair to once again seek School Building Authority funding for a new elementary school in Oak Hill.

Two years ago, the county was turned down by the W.Va. Board of Education in its request for $7,106,560 to build a new complex that would have housed students from Oak Hill, Oak Hill East End and Scarbro elementaries.

Tuesday, Whitehair said the needs project now being prepared by her and her staff will be similar.

“It should be about the same project submitted year before last,” she said.

Both Whitehair and Barbara Nichols, director of operations and public relations, said the school system must receive updated figures from architects before completing the needs project.

Also Tuesday, a longtime county schools administrator was posthumously honored. The family of John Cavalier was presented a plaque that will be placed in the lobby of the central office.

In presenting the award to Cavalier’s sons, David and Fred, and other family members, Nichols recognized the contributions Cavalier — the former elementary schools director who passed away in June — made to the county.

She praised his “53 years of distinguished service and exceptional contributions.” Later, Nichols said Cavalier was a “quiet giant” who “was aware of every aspect of the educational system.”

The effort to rename the lobby in Cavalier’s honor was spurred on by former elementary school principal and current Ansted Elementary teacher Dale Arrington. After the ceremony, Arrington praised Cavalier for his wisdom and guidance.

In other matters, a representative of the Fayette County Bus Drivers Association expressed reservations with an item on the agenda that, if approved, will commit a maximum of 15 county buses and their drivers to transporting visitors to and from Bridge Day™ on Oct. 15. The county supplied buses for the first time last year.

Judy Goodson, FCBDA secretary, said there are several questions concerning the bus use this year, in the wake of the recently-implemented Fair Labor Standards Act for county boards of education. She said regulations say the county can’t lease the buses or allow them to serve in a “bus for hire” situation. Goodson also said a variety of questions center on how drivers would be paid, and who would be responsible for insurance, worker’s compensation, etc.

She presented an estimate that said the Bridge Day™ Commission would be charged only $3,562.50 for use of the buses, while the county board would face $5,148.27 in compensation to drivers if FLSA standards are followed. That would result in a loss of $1,585.77 to the county, she said.

Acting on a motion by Missey Smith, the board tabled action until the Sept. 19 meeting.

For more on the meeting, see Monday’s Tribune.

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