Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

March 21, 2013

The price of success for southern W.Va.

— — As the principal of PikeView High School, I would first like to offer my congratulations to our girls basketball team and their coaches, Princeton High School girls basketball team and their coaches for making it to the West Virginia State Basketball Tournament.

This was PikeViews’ third consecutive year in the state playoffs, an unprecedented feat in PikeView history. I would also like to congratulate Bluefield High School on winning the Class AA Boys State Basketball Championship. This is a huge accomplishment for their boys basketball program, the school, and community.

I would also like to thank the communities for their outpouring of support during this time. Many parents bought tickets for themselves and their children so that we could have a great showing at the Charleston Civic Center. I would personally like to recognize Dr. Deborah Akers, superintendent and Joe Turner, assistant superintendent, for allowing us to take students to Charleston for the game, and Mr. Fred Scott, Transportation Director, for his hard work in arranging buses and drivers. We had many students who were able to attend the game and show support for the team thanks to his hard work. 

Since Princeton High’s team also had a playoff game that day, there was a grueling task of organizing buses and drivers for both schools. On these days, there were 32 trips made to Charleston between the three schools via the West Virginia Turnpike. In addition to the cost of the buses and drivers, Mercer County Schools paid $624 in tolls for the use of the state turnpike.

This does not include tolls paid by hundreds of private vehicles that made the trips to support their teams. Interestingly enough, only one other school our county teams competed against had to pay a penny in toll charges. Generally these schools were from the northern part of the state, where tolls are unheard of. I sincerely hope that our leaders and delegates will consider how unfair the toll system is to those of us in the southern part of the state, especially the school systems and many fans who want the same opportunity to cheer on our teams. 

Ben Disibbio,

Principal of PikeView High School.

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