Part 2, Public Meetings about the Pocahontas Excess School Levy
In Part 2 of the story about the public meetings held during the first week of October about Excess School Levy which will be on the November 8th Election Ballot in Pocahontas County, we will hear from Cara Rose, the chairman of the School Levy Committee about how those meetings went. We will hear about the upcoming county-wide public levy meeting which will be held at the Opera House in Marlinton at 6 p.m. on November 1st Finally we will also hear some of the positions taken by thos e opposed to the levy, or while not completely opposed, would have liked to have seen things done differently.
But first we hear Cara’s general assessment of how the meetings went.
“The public meetings for the excess school levy in Pocahontas County went really well” said Cara. “They were very well attended in all four locations. I think they were very constructive and productive. We had a lot of similar questions at each of the meetings. There were some new questions at every meeting.”
Cara explains why she considered the meetings productive.
“All of them brought new information to the Committee” Cara explains. “We were able to use that information to begin conversations about how those concerns could be adapted into the planning process within the parameters we have to work within.”
Cara says that the meetings educated the Committee as much as the public and that the committee has taken the public concerns and suggestions seriously.
“I’m hoping that at our final meeting in Marlinton on November first, we’ll be able to demonstrate that the Committee did listen; the Committee did hear; and the Board of Education is working toward some of the resolutions that were brought to their attention at these public meetings” Cara said.
Cara points out that so many questions were brought up at the Green Bank meeting that the committee felt it needed to hold a second meeting there. Cara tells us about that upcoming meeting.
“We will be holding a second meeting in Green Bank on October 25th” said Cara. “Our plan is to hold the meeting at the school at 7 p.m.”
If you missed any of the previous meetings and would still like to hear about the Excess Levy or if youy attended the earlier meetings, and would like to hear additional information being presented by State Officials about the Levy, you might want to attend a final countywide meeting. Cara talks about that meeting.
“The final public meeting for the excess school levy will be November 1st at 6 p.m. at the Opera House in Marlinton” said Cara. “The State Fire Marshall plans to attend, and also David Snead, who is the Executive Director for the School Building Authority for the State of West Virginia”
That could be a very informative meeting since a lot of the objections expressed by a very vocal minority at the October meetings involved disbelief about School Board claims that the school buildings are actually dangerously in need of renovation to ensure student safety and continued operation as schools, and mistrust that all of the levy funds, if approved by the voters would actually be used to renovate the schools as described in the Levy Call. Citizens can directly question and confront those State Officials about the truth –or lack of truth- of those claims at the November 1st meeting..
Other concerns expressed during the meetings involved a belief that mismanagement of funds and a lack of maintenance over the years have led to the situation now faced by the schools which now requires the Excess Levy. Others expressed the desire to close Hillsboro Elementary, or to move the Marlinton Elementary School students to Hillsboro Elementary. Others were concerned that passage of the Levy would result in certain eventual closure of Hillsboro Elementary School, which was denied by school officials. Some parents expressed concern about the safety of 7th and 8th graders who would be moved to the High School 3 years from now. This is one issue the School Board and Central Office seem willing to try and resolve by looking for ways to delay moving the 7th and 8th graders to PCHS until the High School has been rebuilt with a separate wing for those Middle School students.