Pocahontas Board of Ed thanks outgoing members

Marlinton, W.Va. – During its meeting on Monday night, the Pocahontas County Board of Education bid farewell to Thomas Vanreenen and Martha Giddings, who are stepping down from their positions. Vanreenen thanked the voters for the opportunity to serve.

“I’d like to thank the voters for allowing me to serve on their board for right at nine years,” he said. “I would also like to wish the best of luck to the current board and the two new ladies coming on, and Ms. Beverage and Ms. Sizemore. Ms. Irvine, Ms. Borror, Ms. Bland, Ms. Christian and Mr. Lester, I wish all of you all the very best of luck in making Pocahontas County schools the best they can be. Thank you.”

Board president Kenneth Vance thanks the outgoing board members for their service.

“I would just like to say, you know, I appreciate both of you coming on and finishing out the terms of the other people, that had other duties or did something else,” he said. “I thought you both did a good job and you’re interested in our students. Thank you.”

Attendance director Susan Borror reported that attendance rates at Hillsboro Elementary, Marlinton Middle and Pocahontas County High schools had decreased during the previous school year, while attendance rates at Marlinton Elementary and Green Bank Elementary-Middle schools had improved. Borror noted that all five county schools were above the state acceptable level of 93-percent attendance. Borror urged the board to make her job a full-time position.

Director of Special Education and Student Services Ruth Bland reported that controversial, high-end internet routers had been installed at all county schools.

“We have brand new routers that are in the schools,” she said. “You probably read about those in the Charleston paper. But all five schools now have new routers, that are just waiting for the new switches to come in.”

The Charleston Gazette reported that the state paid $24 million in economic stimulus funds to purchase more than 1,000 of the $22,000 routers. The Gazette quoted a representative of router manufacturer Cisco, who said the routers are designed to serve tens of thousands of users.

During discussion of a free lunch program being tested in the state, board member Janet McNeel noted that many families do not return survey forms with personal financial information, which can help the schools qualify for aid programs. Food service supervisor Lisa Dennison told the board that Pocahontas County has one of the lowest survey response rates in the state.

Board member Emery Grimes said lack of confidentiality is why many families do not return the surveys.

“I think – getting back to this – I think that we’ve created some of this problem ourself,” he said. “Because, I have heard teachers say, ‘why’s that person getting free lunch?’ And you have, too. So, whenever that goes out into the community, and they’ll think, ‘oh, nobody ever heard me.’ Yeah, they do, because I was standing there and I heard it. So did other people. At a ball game is where I was hearing this. If that parent’s there, they’re not going to do that the next year.”

Grimes said an internet-based survey likely would get better results.

“Now, if it went into the state on a website, to where that teacher or secretary wasn’t seeing that, that would help,” he said. But I think we have to become more disciplined with teachers and individuals that is seeing confidential information, and not pitch that out there.”

Bland said an internet-based survey system was an objective in the school system for this year.

In other business, the board:
— approved a memorandum of understanding with Community Care of West Virginia for Green Bank Elementary-Middle, Marlinton Elementary and Pocahontas County High schools.
— approved maintenance supervisor Darin McKenney to secure quotes for a one-ton truck with a toolbox, a 3/4-ton truck, and a trailer.
— approved Shane Jones, Allen Taylor, Kenneth Lehman, Shannon Arbogast and Rcky Bennett as unpaid basketball coaches.
— approved the employment of:
Cheryl Jonese as part-time at-risk interventionist;
Lucy Rittenhouse and Lauren Dickenson as part-time academic interventionists;
Sandra Perdue, Gary Taylor, Tina Sharp, Roy Shearer, Sherri Howe and Caleb Barkley as custodians II (extra summer help);
Douglas Burns as seventh and eighth grade football coach;
Joanna Burt Kinderman as part-time math coach;
Lesa Allen as part-time teacher;
Jerry Matheny and Larry Sharp as summer school bus drivers;
— accepted the resignations, due to retirement, of:
Betty Miller, as cafeteria manager, and Gary Pillow as hearing impaired teacher/pathologist.
— accepted the retiremnt of Scott Garber as assistant basketbal coach.
The board created the positions of special education itinerant teacher at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and half-time Spanish teacher at Pocahontas County High School.

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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