Pocahontas Board Meets with Hillsboro Faculty before 5-9-16 Regular Meeting

The Pocahontas County Board of Education’s May 5th meeting was held at Hillsboro Elementary School. Before the regular meeting, the Board held a work session with the school’s faculty to discuss any issues they might have. Issues discussed included a desire to make Hillsboro’s hours consistent with the other Elementary schools; the bus routes to the school; concerns about moving the 7th and 8th grade students to the High School if renovations are done and why was a Board Counsel hired instead of using the County Prosecutor.

The Board said they were open to consider changed bus routes and changing the hours at Hillsboro. Superintendent Beam said that 27 other schools in WV have 7th and 8th graders at their high schools and it seems to be working out without incident. Board President Grimes pointed out that prior to hiring Bob Martin as legal counsel, they spent over $70,000 a year on legal advice from other private law firms who charged as much as $250.00 per hour just to answer questions. Martin is on retainer for $36,000 for the school year, actually saving money. All of his legal services are included in the $36,000 retainer. The County Prosecutor does not have the time or the legal specialty in School Law needed to perform this duty.

After the usual opening procedures –approval of minutes and agenda etc, the Board heard Superintendent Beam’s report. Beam said that on May 18th they will be interviewing the 7 candidates for Principal at the High School. The High school is finalizing their class schedule for next year, but was advised to avoid a pure 4 hour block schedule. Beam met with the Executive Director of the SBA who told him that if the levy passes, they will consider taking an extra 10 million dollars out of their rainy day fund to renovate Pocahontas County High School. This would be in addition to the 12 or so million dollars they have committed to renovate Marlinton middle and Green Bank Schools if the levy passes.

The Board approved various financial reports, vender costs, bank statements and other expenses.

They approved contracts with OWPR Architecture Group and McLiney & Company as an underwriter/placement agent and purchaser to help with the proposed SBA Project.

They approved a contract with Ed McDivitt to act as special legal counsel to the Board at $150.00 per hour to ensure the legality of the excess levy.

The Board approved a field trip on May 25th and 26th for 45 Marlinton Middle School Students to visit Charlottesville and Massanutten, Va. This will be paid for by fund raising.

A policy regarding Credit Recovery and one involving dual Credit/Advanced Placement were both approved to be placed on 30 day comment.

The Board approved various text books to be used next school year.

The Board members voted to approve the Teacher-in-residence program partnership with Fairmont State University. This agreement allows the Board to hire hometown graduates as teachers to complete their teaching requirements at Pocahontas county schools if no fully certified teachers are available for the positions. This will require those student teachers to be mentored carefully here, but they can count their experience here to obtain full certification.

The Board approved a personnel agenda which included the Following:

William J. Brown’s requested transfer from an itinerate Special Education Teacher at the High School to be a Driver’s Education Teacher next year.

They employed Chloe Bland as a Science Teacher at the high school next year

They employed Emily K. McLaughlin as a teacher of Option Pathways –that is GED- at the High school next year.

They created 4 part time positions for the 21st CCLC Summer Program at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School

They accepted the resignation of Corinne Landis as a Substitute Teacher retroactive to April 27th, 2016 in the areas of Substitute Aide, Cook and Custodian.

The Board meeting ended with an executive session to discuss personnel matters which would not be voted on at this meeting.


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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