Pocahontas Board of Ed. Puts Policy to Enforce School Attendance Zones on 30 Day Comment

At their February 25th meeting, the Pocahontas County Board of Education places proposed revisions to Policy JBCCA, which is the Attendance Zone Policy, on a thirty-day public comment. The revisions would add procedures for the inter-county transfer of students, and would significantly change the rules for students who wish to attend an Elementary or Middle School which is located outside the zone in which they live. It adds procedures whereby the student would have to apply for and receive approval to do so from the principals of both the “sending school’s Principal” and the “receiving school’s Principal” as well as from the School superintendent.

This proposed revision to the policy would also deny these out of zone students school bus transportation to their new out of zone school. Listen in as Transportation Director Ruth Bland explains that change to the Board.

“in the past, bus transportation was provided as long as the receiving schools bus schedule matched it” said Bland. “I have called other counties, and it is now the practice of other counties, including rural counties surrounding us and like us, that bus transportation is not provided for those students. If they choose to go outside their attendance zone, the parents would have to provide their own transportation for those students.”

Ruth went on to explain why this is being proposed.

“It became a little bit of a burden to the transportation system” said Bland. “We’re looking how to run an efficient system, so I’m proposing that parents be responsible for transporting their children to those outside of their attendance zone schools.”

If anyone in the public wishes to add their comments about this proposed revised policy, they can view the full proposed policy on the Pocahontas County Board of Education’s website and select the “policy Manual” link. The policies that are on public comment, such as this one, are listed at the bottom of that page. The proposed policy has also been sent to each school’s Faculty Senate Chairman.

This Board meeting began with the second hearing on the proposed 2019-2020 school calendar. During that hearing, Mr. Beam provided some of the comments received from a survey of school employees about the school calendar. He said they received 108 responses to the survey. He read and answered a couple of those comments. Some questioned having two Continuing Education Days for Teachers in August before the students return to school. Beam said these days are better at the beginning of the school year to help teachers prepare rather then at the end of the school year. Another suggestion was to do away with the professional learning days for teachers so that school year could end early, but Mr. Beam said those days already count as instruction days, so it would not shorten the school year even if they did away with them.

Regarding the current school calendar, Mr. Beam explained that the teacher walkout will not be made up during Spring Break since it only lasted for one day, and a lot of families have scheduled vacations for Spring Break, instead, it will be added to the last day of school this year which will now be on May 22nd.

In his Superintendent’s Report to the Board at this meeting, School Superintendent Beam emphasized to the Board the importance to future SBA funding of the schools that the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP) is. Every ten years, every West Virginia county’s Board of Education has to set up a committee from the public and from school staff and administration to draw up their school facilities plan for the next ten years. This process will also involve public meetings to discuss and obtain input about what should be in the plan. Mr. Beam said once the plan has been completed and submitted to the West Virginia Board of Education, the School Building Authority will look at a school district’s CEFP when considering approval of any requests for funding of school facility projects. Beam also told the Board he was providing them with copies of the last CEFP done ten years ago, just to let them see how much the vision for the schools has changed since that plan was set.

Be sure to stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio to Part 2 of this meeting story when we will cover the other things that happened at this Board of Education meeting including a lengthy discussion between teacher representatives from all three Elementary schools and Marlinton Middle School about the possibility of moving the 5th grade from Marlinton Elementary School to Marlinton Middle School.

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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