Pocahontas Board of Ed discusses quality of school meals

Marlinton, W.Va. –

The quality and quantity of school meals continue to concern the Pocahontas Board of Education. During Tuesday night’s board meeting, board member Hannah Sizemore says parents have talked to her about school food.

“The food situation again – I’ve encountered more of the negative feedback, firsthand lately,” she said. “Is there anything we can do about this in terms of PR – just to communicate with everyone better? General negative feedback from parents about food.”

Board member Kenneth Vance says the issue is statewide.

“It’s not only a prblem here, it’s everywhere,” he said. “The federal government is putting guidelines and, if we don’t follow their guidelines, then, you know, they’re going to pull the money from us.”

Board president Emery Grimes compares federal guidelines with communism.

“I’ve got a real problem with that,” he said. We are Americans. People died for our freedom and the federal government says, ‘you have to.’ That’s not freedom, ladies and gentlemen – that’s communism. They do it in everything they do. They control it with money. That’s the only difference. China says, ‘you have to do it or we’ll run over you with a bulldozer.’ They say, ‘you either do it,’ here, ‘or you don’t get paid.'”

Board member Janet McNeel suggests gradual incorporation of federal guidelines would have been better.

“Instead of rolling this out gradually, like some states did, we just rolled it out in one fell swoop in September of this year – which is what has triggered this,” she said. “This has actually been in place since 2008.”

Schools Superintendant C.C. Lester, Vance and Grimes talk about a problem with green hamburgers in Fayette County.

“It’s like that night here about two weeks ago,” Lester said.” “I saw over in Raleigh County, where they had fixed them hamburgers. It was raw in the middle. No, it was Fayette County. Raw in the middle and green on top.”

“Was it green? asked Vance.

“Yeah, it was a hamburger,” replied Lester. They had put them in pans and baked them – probably where it overlies – and he said, ‘we won’t do that again.'”

“Them football players will eat that about six o’clock,” said Grimes. “They’re starved to death.”

Lester says there is a push at the state level to expand free meals for all students through a program called Community Eligibility Option.

“And there’s a big push now from the state [education] department for the CEO – community eligibility option – for free lunches for everybody.”

Board treasurer Alice Irvine explained that the federal government reimburses the board for all students eating school meals and that schools will lose funding if less students eat school meals.

Grimes requested that board staff provide a report at the next meeting on the number of students eating hot lunches, compared to previous years, and more information on the free lunch program being tested in other counties.

Lester congratulates Marlinton Middle School teacher Christine Campbell for her election as president of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers.

“I’d like to recognize somebody in the room tonight,” he said. “A very fine educator I have been honored to work with at Marlinton Middle School a couple years ago. Miss Christine Campbell is president-elect of the AFT presidency. I wish you the best. Congratulations. I think it’s fantastic.”

In other business, the board gave approval for seven students and three chaperones to attend the FFA national convention in Indianapolis this month.

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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