Ashton Marra Published

Bus Ride Times Will Drastically Increase for Harman Students


After a ceiling collapse caused the indefinite closure of one Randolph County school, the state Board of Education approved a waiver to allow students in the area to exceed set limits for the amount of time they can spend on a bus.

Randolph County Superintendent Terry George asked for the waiver Wednesday that would allow Harman School students to go to Elkins area schools about 26 miles from the facility. 

One way bus trips from the students’ homes to Elkins schools would range from about an hour and five minutes to an hour and 18 minutes, well exceeding state set standards.

“There’s just not another school that’s closer than the Elkins area schools to relocate them to,” George told the board, “and we could not find facilities in the Harman area that would pass fire marshal inspections that would allow us to house our students in that area.”

State Board of Education policy says elementary school students cannot travel more than 30 minutes one way to and from school each day. Middle school students may travel 45 minutes and high schoolers 60 minutes. 

Board members unanimously approved the policy Wednesday, allowing the county to exceed limits for all age groups.

George told the board after more than $200,000 in renovations, elementary aged students should be able to return to Harman School by mid- to late-October, but renovations in the middle and high school areas could cost somewhere between $800,000 and $1 million.

The county doens’t have those kind of funds, George said, but they are working on a plan to ask the state School Building Authority for help.