Controversy at the Pocahontas County Board of Education Meeting
It seemed to be routine Personnel Agenda vote at the Monday, September 21st, Pocahontas County Board of Education Meeting which began at 4:55 p.m… Mr. Terrence Beam, the Interim Superintendent read the proposed personnel action.
“Assistant Athletic Director for Pocahontas County High School (to be present at sporting events when the Athletic Director and Principal cannot attend). Effective for the 2015-2016 school year, at a supplement of $1500. (NOTE: Position pending on sufficient number of players to make a team)”, said Mr. Beam.
School Board President Grimes then called for a vote which turned down the creation of the position by a 4-1 vote.
Normally that would be the end of the matter under consideration, but later in the meeting Kristy Tritapoe, who is the Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at the Pocahontas County High school showed up to support the creation of the Assistant Athletic Director position at the High School. When she was told that the vote had already taken place she was puzzled and produced a meeting agenda which stated that the regular Board Meeting was to start at 6:30 p.m. Several other people came in just before 6:30 pm believing the meeting was supposed to begin at 6:30. Mr. Grimes advised them that an amended meeting agenda had been sent out last Wednesday indicating the earlier start to the meeting. Board President Grimes reacted to the apparent failure to notify everyone about the amended agenda. Mr. Grimes!
“If you all didn’t get this amended agenda and you want to put it back on there again, I mean you’re welcome to put it back on their again and we’ll vote on it again” said Grimes. “But I can tell you about how I feel about this. Straight-up, I am not going to vote for no coordinator unless we give them coaches back money. We took it from them and I’m not going to vote for it for that reason. Now if you want to put the coaches’ salaries back on there and vote for them all, I’d do that. But after we took all that money away from them coaches, I am not going to do that.”
What Mr. Grimes was referring to was that in the current budget, the Board cut the coaches supplemental pays in half. He feels it would not be right to create this new Assistant Athletic Coordinator position with a $1500 supplemental pay unless the cuts to the coaches’ supplemental pay are restored.
Assistant Principal Kristy Tritapoe cited a recent situation that could have been avoided if they had an Assistant Athletic Coordinator capable of attending sporting events at the High School when neither she nor Principal Adkins could attend. Kristy!
“And here is what happened like last Monday night” said Kristy. “I had to work my second job and Mr. Adkins had to be here (at a Board Meeting) and we had a home soccer game and there was no Administrator there because I could not be there, and he could not either. And that’s my main concern. Unless somebody is hired and on contract and on paper, I cannot give Administrative privileges to (just) anybody. And I can’t give anybody the money boxes to take care of. So if we’re both at a meeting or out of town, than we have nobody.”
Board President Grimes offered a possible solution.
“It looks to me that if you and Mr. Adkins know you’re not going to be there” said Grimes, “then let the Superintendent know and see if he can get Mrs. Bland to be there or Mr. Hall to be there, or he can cover it. It has to be covered by an Administrator but it looks to me that would be legal to do.”
In other actions:
The Board approved contracting with Attorney Robert Martin to provide legal services to the Board for $36,000 effective 9/22/15 through June 30, 2016.
In his report, Superintendent Beam re-emphasized the importance of the public meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 28th at Marlinton Elementary School where issues involving the renovation and possible relocation of schools out of the flood plain will be discussed with the public.
Mr. Beam also advised that the maintenance workers required another truck and that one which had been donated to the High School could be repaired for about $3,500.00 and could serve as an extra maintenance vehicle.
Mr. Beam said that the Schools’ Strategic Plan had been completed and sent out to Board Members.
He also advised that the gym floor could be recoated at a cost of about $2,700.00, which would last about 1 year or it could be sanded and then refinished for about $15,979.99. The Board liked the less expensive option.
Beam said that the OEPA will be conducting state audits at the schools this week, and the results will be orally given at an October 6th Exit Conference.