Pocahontas BOE Weighs in with Resolution Opposing Proposed State Education Bill

The West Virginia Legislature is struggling to pass an Omnibus, or all-encompassing Education bill. The State Senate passed version of the bill does include some good things for teachers, including: a 5% pay raise.

Among their other objections to the bill, such as reducing the importance of Seniority during lay-offs, the Teachers Unions feel that charter schools and Educational Tax Credits would divert state education funds away from the public schools to private charter schools and homeschooling.

At their February 11th meeting, the Pocahontas County Board of Education passed a formal Resolution opposing the Senate passed bill. It should be noted that the West Virginia House is still debating and considering changes to the Senate bill that might make it more palatable to teachers. Ruth Bland read the long resolution which can be summed up that the Board feels public education is already underfunded in West Virginia and the Senate passed bill would take more state education funding away.  What follows is Ruth reading the actual resolution portion.

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: the Pocahontas County Board of Education opposes any and all efforts to use public funds for education reform or make any changes that does not lead to higher student achievement for the most disadvantaged students; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: Taxation and policy decisions which result in reduced revenues for public education and/or have a negative impact on our students and families must be avoided.

Adopted by the Board of Education, Pocahontas County, West Virginia on February 11, 2019.”

Denise Sharp, the President of the local American Federation of Teachers told the Board that employees in all fifty-five counties of West Virginia have agreed to engage in another work walk-out and stoppage when and if the presidents of the three school employee unions call for it.

This Board Meeting included the first hearing on the 2019-2020 school calendar. Ruth Bland presented the draft calendar. Teachers will report on August 9th. Students will return to class on Thursday, August 15th.  Thanksgiving break will be from Monday, November 25th through Friday, November 29th, Christmas break will begin with a Professional learning day for teachers on Monday, December 23rd and classes won’t resume until Monday, January 6th, 2020. Spring Break will start for students on Good Friday, April 10th, but teachers will have another professional learning day that day. Students will be off also on the entire week of Easter, Monday April 13th through the 17th.  As long as there is not a lot of snow days or other days off, the last day of school will be May 22nd, 2020.

Robert Mann, the PCHS Band Teacher told the Board that he will be performing military training from April 2nd (Basic Training at Fort Jackson SC) for 9 weeks and 4 days followed by 10 weeks at the Armed Forces School of Music starting on June 17th. His last day of class this school; year will be March 29th. The spring concert has been moved up to March 17th and the Pocahontas All-County Band event will be on March 18 and 19.

Shenda Smith and Rick McLaughlin will be filling in for him at PCHS and all other band events, including the Colorguard & Percussion Clinic and Band Camp will go on as scheduled.

Mr. Brad Dunz talked to the Board again about the Marlinton Middle School’s Boys Basketball Team not having school buses to take them to away games. Because of a misunderstanding of what was said, we reported that there were not the required 10 members on the team to qualify for a bus, however Mr. Dunz has clarified that they have enough players, but Marlinton Middle School can’t afford to pay the $50.00 plus one dollar per mile fee the Board charges for each extracurricular bus trip. He asked the Board if he raised the money to pay for the trips, would that money go to the boys’ basketball teams bus fees? Ruth bland, Director of Transportation, said that would be OK, but he had to be careful that there was no violation of the Federal Title 9 provisions since the girls’ team would still not get a bus.

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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