Pocahontas County Board of Education Not Pleased With Handling Of Truancy Cases

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Schools Attendance Director Susan Borror had good news and some not so good news to share with the Board of Education Monday night. The good news is that attendance is improving and that the county graduation rate of 89% is far above the national average of 75%.

But, she says there are problems enforcing attendance laws. She has conducted 132 meetings with parents and a number of those cases were eventually referred to Pocahontas Magistrate Court. Board President Kenneth Vance asked her about the Magistrate court process, and if the current procedures are working. Borror suggests there is room for improvement.

“It’s not working as well as it should be working” she says. “We had a lot of continuances and cases that were just dismissed and that’s not good. Because that sends a message to our kids that you know you miss school, nothing’s going to happen to you.”

Board Member Janet McNeal asked Borror for further clarification on the cases before the Magistrate.

“You had 132 cases, so how many of those cases were actually processed the proper way?” asks McNeel. “Maybe 4 or 5” says Borror.

All of the board members present expressed concern over the apparent lack of enforcement. Borror assured them that the school system is doing all it can.

“When Mr. Lester first came here as Superintendant, we talked about this (truancy enforcement), and he went to a meeting up there with me with the Magistrates, with the Prosecuting Attorney” she says. “We did all this at the beginning of the school year and he said he wanted some teeth put into this attendance thing; and it just hasn’t really happened.”

After more discussion, the Board asked Mr. Lester to request that the Magistrates and the Prosecuting Attorney come to the July 25th Board Meeting to discuss the issues.

In other business, Career Solutions owner Jim Farley told the Board that his company will not hire a full time person to work on community based vocational service. Rather they hope to identify a local person or agency that can provide rehabilitation services for the county. He says there is not enough work for a full time person, but that it could be a lucrative part time position for someone who has a desire to work with individuals with disabilities and a background in human services.

In other actions, the Board approved the following:

Five contracts for the 2011-2012 school year dealing with services for students with special needs. The contracts were renewed ones that were in place last year for Kimberly Groves, Melanie Mason, Leslie Goodall, Joyce Brown and James Woodward.

Adoption of a standard Calculus textbook for next year

And a new state required Wellness policy.

The following personnel actions were approved:

Creation of 4 positions of Teacher for extended school year

Employment of Teresa Barb and LyAnn Zelinsky as Academic Interventionists at Marlinton Elementary

Employment of Denise Elliott to provide orientation and mobility services for Pocahontas County Schools

Granted a Medical Leave of Absence without pay to Kathryn Kolonay

And accepted the resignation of Deborah McQuain.

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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