Pocahontas Board of Education Supports the Excess School Levy

At the September 26th Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Beam said the American Federation of Teachers are about to vote on whether to support the School Levy or not, but they first wanted to hear the opinion of each Board of Education member about the levy. Mr. Beam asked each Board member to express their position on the upcoming ballot measure. Here are their responses.

Board Member Joe Walker.

“I’m all in” Joe Said. “We haven’t any other alternative. It may not be a perfect situation by far the best one we can come up with in light of the potential of the next 3 or 4 years, I don’t see any other way. I’m for the Levy.”

Board Vice President Jessica Hefner.

“I’m for the Levy, ditto what Mr. Walker Said” Jessica responded.

Board Member Steve Tritapoe.

“I think I would fully support it right now if I knew all the details to it” said Steve. “Partially maybe that’s still my fault, but I’m doing everything, for everything I got my hand in, but as of right now I’m no different from any average Joe out here on the street. I’ve briefed through a few things. Questions are starting to pop up. I’m in a gray area still, I ain’t going to jump in feet first right now until I get some of my questions answered, which again, maybe that’s more my fault.”

Board Member Rebecca Campbell.

“Is it a perfect situation? No. Are there a lot of questions? Absolutely” Rebecca said. “But without this money, I don’t know where our kids are going to be, what shape our schools will be in the foreseeable future. This kind of money doesn’t come around every day. While we have a chance, we have to grab it. That’s it in a nut shell. We might not see this kind of money in ten years. We might not see it again in twenty. We may never see it again. This is our opportunity to do some good things for our schools and for our kids.”

Board President Emery Grimes.

“I’m all in” said emery. “I went to Charleston in front of the SBA with you (Superintendent Beam). We may not have gotten exactly what we wanted, but we got very close. I don’t think we can take individuals around the county and look at the schools and say there still standing up whenever we see the maintenance bills that come in. And I think the general public needs to know this; Mr. Walker took architects – or what did you take to the schools?”

“Oh I took a general contractor” replied Board Member Joe Walker.

“And the (General Contractor) looked at the schools and told us what bad shape they was in” said Emery. I don’t believe personally we are ever going to get another offer like this. I can’t predict 20 years down the road, but we can’t wait twenty years. I don’t think we’re going to get this good of a deal ever again.”

It should be noted that when the Board Members referred to the good deal they were not referring to the money raised by the excess levy itself, but rather to the extra 12 to 13 million dollars the West Virginia School Building Authority has pledged to add to the amount the Levy would provide to renovate the Green Bank and Marlinton Middle School building, provided that the levy passes.

In other actions, the Board heard from PCHS Principal Joe Riley who recommended that the Board approve a 7884 minute schedule for the high school this year, which would come close to the State’s Policy but would still leave time for Clubs and Tutoring. The board did pass this schedule.

The Board placed 2 policies on 30 day comment. One was on a Simulated Workplace Drug Free Policy and the other was a Simulated Workplace letter to parents.

They reversed an earlier decision to adopt a Non-ERISA 403(b) plan through Integra Financial LLC which would have allowed teachers to make voluntary investments in this plan.

They also approved several overnight field trips where the cost was being picked up by either private fundraising or by grant money.

The Board approved routine financial reports and vender bills. They also approved the Basic Financial Statement for the last fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2016. The bottom line is that they ended up the year with a shortfall in the general fund – which is county money- of -$195,553 and a carryover of Special Revenue – State and Federal Grant money- of +$756.089. Details of this will be published in the Pocahontas Times.

The Board voted 3-1 to – with parental approval – send freshmen to the Denmar Correctional Center on Thursday, October 20th to participate in the Violent Offenders Counseling and Learning Program. The Pocahontas Cooperative Ministries will pick up the transportation costs, and student safety was ensured. Board member Joe Walker abstained from the vote, and Board Vice President Jessica Hefner voted against this.

They passed the below personnel agenda.


September 26, 2016 Professional and Service Personnel



Green Bank Elementary-Middle School:

DAVID E. ARTER, as Custodian IV/Sanitation Plant Operator at Green Bank Elementary – Middle School, retroactive to the end of the day on September 23, 2016.



LAUREN BROOKE DICKENSON, as Project Math Tutor/STEM Instructor (Project SPLASH) at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, retroactive to September 14, 2016 for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year, at $20 per hour, up to 7 hours per week (1 hour planning, 2 hours of instruction daily – 3 day per week) for up to 25 weeks, plus additional planning/meetings before program begins *Position of employment and hours per position contingent upon adequate student enrollment and/or attendance.

Marlinton Elementary School:


SAMANTHA J. FEATHER, Teacher of Multi-Subjects at Marlinton, retroactive to September 19, 2016 or upon exhaustion of personal leave, for up to 9 weeks.

 Marlinton Middle School:


MELISSA HILL-DOSS, from Counselor at Marlinton Middle School to Counselor at Marlinton Middle School and Pocahontas County High School, effective October 3, 2016 for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year. (NOTE: Not to exceed 2 days per week at Pocahontas County High School.)


Pocahontas County High School:


JENNIFER A. NAIL, as After School Tutor at Pocahontas County High School, retroactive to September 14, 2016 through June 1, 2017 (additional planning meetings before program begins), at $20 per hour, 2 hours per day, 2 days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks. (NOTE: Position to be divided equally with Jeanette D. Wagner.)

Pocahontas County Schools:


LORI A. DOOLITTLE, as Truancy Diversion Specialist for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay based on degree and experience, effective September 28, 2016 for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year, term of employment is 163 days. NOTE: Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.


KAITLIN SHARP, as Substitute Aide for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to August 10, 2016.





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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