Future of Marlinton Elementary Discussed Again at January 5th Board of Ed. Meeting
Jay Miller spoke up at the February 5th Pocahontas County Board of Education Meeting to surprisingly agree with School Superintendent Beam’s remarks at the previous Board meeting. Here is a portion of Miller’s remarks.
“At the Board of Education meeting on January 22nd, the Superintendent says he now believes MES (Marlinton Elementary School) should be kept open if possible. And according to published reports, the Board seemed to agree with him” said Miller. “This reversal of position is stunning because between 2016 and 2017 the Board members insisted that MES must be closed because it sits in a flood plain…. I agree with the superintendent when he says MES should be kept open because it is an essential part of the community…. And I would hope that Mr. Beam at least acknowledges the fact that I am agreeing with most of…well everything that he said at the meeting last time about the necessity to keep Marlinton Elementary open if at all possible.”
John Burns also spoke up approvingly of the idea of doing everything possible to keep the school open because the Town of Marlinton needs the school and about the financial Burdon to the town should the school be closed.
In his Superintendent’s Report Mr. Beam did acknowledge both Mr. Miller’s and Mr. Burns’ agreement with his desire to keep Marlinton Elementary School somewhere in downtown Marlinton. He added that he and Board Member Joe Walker met with Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton and they agreed that any plan to keep a school in town must be not just a Board of Ed plan, but must be a community plan as well.
Mr. Beam also said that because there have been rumors about a state-wide employee work stoppage over possible increases in PEIA costs to school employees statewide, he invited three employee union representatives to address the Board about these rumors.
Teacher Representatives Denise Sharp, the President of the American Federation of Teachers and Kathy White of the WV Education Association as well as Tina Sharp of the WV School Service Personnel Association all informed the Board that they had been asked by their state organizations to organize a vote among the school system’s professional and service personnel on or before February 9th. They explained that this is not a vote to actually go out on strike, but just to indicate whether or not they would consider striking should the legislature vote to dramatically increase these insurance costs to employees. In other words, this is a vote to gage the level of commitment by union members statewide to strike if it becomes necessary. It was explained that if the Legislature enacts the proposed insurance cost increases, an employee’s insurance costs could increase by $230.00 per month or more.
Denise Campbell, the new Dominion/Atlantic Coast Pipeline Community Liaison also addressed the Board. She said part of her job will be to stay in contact with the Board of Education to keep them informed about pipeline construction to avoid conflicts with the schools such as bus route or bus stop conflicts with the construction.
Mr. Beam also talked about his commitment to increasing the Continuing Technical Education, or CTE programs at the high school such as the new Commercial Drivers License program and possibly re-establishing a nursing program. He also said he wanted to consider expanding CTE into the Middle Schools since some students have already given up on an academic education before they even arrive at the high school.
In addition to the usual financial reviews and approvals, the Board also approved a Bingo license for Marlinton Middle School fundraising activities.
The Board also approved the following short personnel agenda:
February 5, 2018
Professional and Service Personnel
Green Bank elementary-Middle School
RESIGNATION SUSAN E. HERALD, due to retirement as Librarian/Media Specialist retroactive to the end of the day on January 31, 2018.
Pocahontas County High School
EMPLOYMENT: MARTHA FRIEL, as Cook II effective February 7, 2018 for the remainder of the school year. SHIFT 6:00 am to 2:00 pm
Pocahontas County Schools
EMPLOYMENT: DIANE ARBOGAST, as the following effective February 7, 2018 for the remainder of the school year, as needed.