Cuts to Math and Science Teachers at PCHS?

Over the last several days, numerous emails have been sent and received in Pocahontas County expressing serious concerns that there will be cuts to the staffing at PCHS of teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (or STEM) classes. Specifically, it was mentioned in several emails that teachers at PCHS have been told that because of budget shortfalls next school year, there are impending eliminations of one Math Teacher position and one Science Teacher position, as well as of Dual Credit and Advanced Placement Math and Science courses.

Some of these emails were from parents, one was from a scientist at the Green Bank Observatory who also has children in the school system, and another was from a 2013 PCHS Graduate who has turned his STEM education at PCHS into a Bachelor of Science Chemistry Degree, and into a successful Lab Manager position in Pennsylvania.  All of them describe the damage that will be done to students’ futures if these teaching positions and courses are cut, and some questioned cutting such a critical area as STEM instead of less critical programs if cuts must be done.

These are only some of the emails I was copied on, but it appears, from conversations with others, there may have been some additional and similar emails sent to the Board of Education Members.

I have also been made privy to an email sent by Ruthana Beezley in which she reports that she has been told there has not yet been any final decisions made about cuts, nor will there be any final decisions made this month about any of this.

We reached out to School Superintendent Lynne Bostic, and she responded with the following written statement:

Statement regarding personnel season:

I appreciate this opportunity to explain the process that we follow during personnel season.

According to West Virginia Code §18A-2-7(a) the superintendent must provide written notice to professional and service employees who are being considered for transfer, change in assignment, and/or dismissal.  If a hearing is required, the hearing on a proposed transfer shall be held on or before May 1.  The superintendent at a meeting of the Board on or before May 1, shall furnish in writing to the Board a list of teachers and other employees to be considered for transfer and subsequent assignment for the following school year.

All personnel who are determined to be in excess will have an opportunity for a hearing on April 16 before a final decision is made by the Pocahontas County Board of Education.

The proposed personnel decisions have not been made without extensive consideration for students, staff, and financial responsibilities.  Our financial situation will change due to the conclusion of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds and to the possible reduction in National Forest funding.

Again, I appreciate this opportunity to explain the process.

So, it appears that we will need to wait until after either the April 16th or May 1st dates Bostic mentions before we can determine officially what if any STEM positions or courses will be eliminated. Of course, if we are able to learn more before then, we will let our listeners know.

For your information, the agenda for the BOE meeting scheduled for 4:15 pm on Tuesday, March 26th at the Green Bank School, does not contain any discernable items that seem to be related to these possible cuts. However, the following meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 16th at 6 pm at the board office, which is one of the dates Bostic mentions in her above statement.

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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