After 14 Personnel Cuts, Pocahontas Schools Still Struggle

The Pocahontas County Board of Education is struggling to create a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018, despite having made 14 personnel cuts.

School Treasurer Sherry Radcliff reported to the Board at their April 24th meeting that there will likely be almost ¾ of a million dollars less revenue next fiscal year. This is because of cuts in state aid, National Forest money; a 30% cut in Federal funds; and a large drop in property tax revenues due mostly to back taxes not being paid. At the same time, there has been increased expenses including large maintenance and repair costs; higher heating costs this winter despite milder than usual weather; and an increase in the food bill of about $40,000. She presented a letter from the State Auditor which advised that Pocahontas County would only be receiving $72,936.23 from the Federal Award for National Forest Land this year, which is about $377,000 less then was received last year.

Sherry pointed out in her Summary Schedule of Revenues for the current fiscal year through the end of March, 2017, the schools have received $421,775 less revenue than through this same time frame last fiscal year, while having $415,257 more in expenses over this time frame last year.

The general budget needs to be completed and submitted by May 31st, however this is difficult since the state has not provided the exact figures for state aid yet. The Board has assured that somehow, a balanced budget will be developed, but may encompass more cuts.

In his report to the Board, School Superintendent Terrence Beam provided the Board with a draft schedule of Board of Education meetings for the 2017-2018 school year, and asked the members to look it over and advise him if there any scheduling issues or is acceptable to them.

Beam also offered some Special Recognitions. He said he received an email announcing that Grace Schebek from PCHS has won 4th place in the 10-12 grade category in a nationwide art contest sponsored by Triarco Art Education. Beam said they hope to have her art displayed in the Board of Education offices soon.

He also congratulated the Pocahontas County students who did well in the state Social Studies Fair.

  • Mason Soliday worn honorable Mention in the U.S. History Individual category.
  • Rachel burns and Sarah Warder won 2nd place in the Political Science Group category.
  • Jennelee Meck in the Economics Individual category.
  • And Kaylee Pritt in the Sociology Individual category.

The Board then took up fiscal matters, approving vender claims of $22,604.35 and $41,014.31 and approved local government purchasing card charges totaling $65,569.20. The Board examined all of these itemized purchases and card charges and determined they were all necessary to the operation of the schools. These included large bills from Mon Power of over $23,000; an $8,259 food bill; and a $2,499 waste disposal bill.

In addition, the Board approved two grants from the WV Department of Education, approved budget adjustments, and the April 18th payroll in the amount of 225,477.30.

The Board approved the Dual Credit/Advanced Placement policy IKM on a 30 day comment. This policy sets the advanced placement syllabuses for next fiscal year, and is revised every year. They also placed policy GBQC- the Critical Need policy on 30 day comment. This policy is also renewed each year and allows retired teachers to substitute teach for more than 130 days.

The approved Teresa Mullen to attend the National Pro Start hospitality Cup in Charleston, SC from April 28th through May 1st – paid for by a grant.

They approved Cammy Kesterson and Wanda Hrabina retroactively to transport 4 students to the FBLA State Leadership Conference in Charleston, WV from April 23rd through April 25th. Since there was not enough time to put this on last month’s agenda, the Board had granted oral approval with the understanding it would be approved on this agenda.

They also approved The Green Bank 5th grade students to travel by school bus to Massanutten Water Park in Virginia on May 26th.

The Board went into an Executive Session to discuss the pending personnel agenda and after returning to regular session, approved it with the exception of deciding not to vote either for or against extending the contract of Bus Driver Pamela Vanorsdale, instead pulling off of this agenda to possible be voted on at the next Board meeting. That personnel agenda can be found in the link below.

4-24-17 BOE Actual meeting and personnel Agenda DOC

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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