Pocahontas Board of Ed approves budget

Marlinton, WV – Staff members updated the Pocahontas County Board of Education during the board’s Tuesday night meeting.

School maintenance supervisor Darin McKenney reports that a major water leak had been discovered and repaired at Marlinton Elementary School.

“One thing that we had to fix was a water leak here at Marlinton Elementary School,” he said. “They check the meter every two months and we lost 400,000 gallons of water. The bill was going to be $9,000. I took it back over to the town and asked if we could get it adjusted. They did take the sewer off, but they couldn’t do anything about the water. So, we got it back down to about $5,000.”

McKenney said the bi-monthly bill was only $900 more than normal, thanks to the town’s adjustment. The supervisor reports that an act of vandalism resulted in a 50,000 gallon water leak at the high school.

“We lost 50,000 gallons at the high school,” he said. “I come to find out that someone had took a lid off on a valve that went over the hill to the auditorium and left it off. Someone come along with a nice, big piece of concrete and dropped it down in there and busted the pipe. But we got that fixed.”

Board treasurer Alice Irvine presented a school year 2012-2013 budget for approval.

During discussion of the budget, board member Thomas VanReenan says the schools’ sick leave policy is stupid.

“That’s absolutely stupid,” he said. “There is no incentive for a young teacher not to use them, whereas, in the old system, you could accumulate three or four years of health insurance. So, they’re taking days off that they’re going to lose and your substitute money is going to be higher. It’s all stupid, I think.”

Board president Kenneth Vance agrees there is no incentive for employees to save sick days.

“I know what you’re saying and everything you’re saying is true, because there’s no incentive for anybody to accumulate days,” he said. “

Vance added that state law and legal decisions control sick leave policies.

The board approved the $13.4 million budget. Local taxes account for $3.8 million of board funds; state aid, $4.5 million; and National Forest land payments, nearly half-a-million dollars. The budget lists 70.22 K-12 teaching positions, with fractions indicating part-time positions. The budget allocates an average of $64,536 per K-12 teacher salary and benefits, a total of more than $4.5 million.

The board approved publishing a program of study policy revision and an expected behavior in safe and supportive schools policy for a 30-day comment period. The board tabled action on a student driving policy because it contains a $3 fine for student drivers who are late for school.

Board member Emery Grimes opposed the fine and says it could encourage speeding.

“Three bucks is a lot if you’re 16 years old,” he said. “That’s a candy bar and pop whenever school’s out. I’d have drove 80 miles an hour to get to school, if I knew I had to give them three bucks.”

The board agreed to remove the fine provision and review the policy next month.

The board approved the following hirings:
— Darlene Arbogast and Melodi Knisely as cheerleading coaches;
— Jessica McLaughlin as credit recovery math teacher;
— Chris Sutton as football coach;
— Ryan Ullman as band director;
— Danielle Ullman as assistant bad director;
— Kathryn White as girls head soccer coach;
— Steven White as boys head soccer coach;
— John Kane as girls head basketball coach;
— Jerry Matheny and Charles McQuain as athletic and extracurricular drivers;
— David Callison as assistant boys basketball coach;
— Heather Simmons as cook;
— Theresa Barb, Lyann Zelinsky and Mary Dawson as academic interventionists;
— and Jo Goldizen and Kristy Sisler as summer school teachers.

The board accepted the resignation of Jenny Friel as cheerleading coach and approved the reclassification of Lesa Allen to itinerant special education/classroom aide/bus aide/paraprofessional.

The next Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting is scheduled for June 4 at 7 p.m.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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