Pocahontas County School Levy Committee Preparing Detailed Public Presentations

At their August 29th public meeting, the Pocahontas County School Levy Committee made preparations for presenting the facts about the proposed School Levy at public meetings this fall. The Committee is made up of school administrators and employees, community leaders and members of the general public.

Their Project Architects attended the meeting and brought  proposed blue prints and renderings for the major renovations and additions to Marlinton Middle and the Green Bank Elementary School which will be funded by the WV School Building Authority (SBA) and by the Levy if it wins voter support in the November 8th General Election.

If it passes, the Levy funds will cover only 1/3 rd of the costs for renovating the 2 schools, while the SBA will fund the remaining 2/3’s of the cost. It was pointed out by Committee members at the meeting that if the Levy fails, the SBA will withdraw its offer, and with the WV State Budget in such sad shape as it is, it is unlikely any such offer will be extended for many, many years if ever..

Blueprint plans for the Pocahontas County High School were only briefly discussed since major renovations of that school are not yet part of the SBA offer or the project. What the committee wants to make clear to the public about the High School is that their primary concern will be to maintain physically separate areas in the High School building to keep the 7th and 8th graders away from the 9th through 12th grade students as much as possible when the younger students move to the high school building 2 or more likely 3 years from now.

When the Architects presented detailed renderings and blueprints for Green Bank School and the present Marlinton Middle School- which will eventually become a pre-K through 6th grade school – the Committee members, and especially Teachers Denise Sharp and Joanna Burt-Kinderman, pointed out constructive changes which needed to be made to these blueprints.  Their proposed changes included increasing the number of classrooms at each of these schools to meet the needs of their students. These changes increased the number of actual classrooms, for example, at Marlinton Middle School from 11 on the original blueprints to 16. Similar increases were made to the Green Bank blueprints. Those changes will be incorporated into the project, and the blueprints will be revised.

The Committee also reviewed a proposed handout for the public which explains the goals and benefits of passing the Excess Levy this fall, facts about the Levy, why it is important to do this now, the project’s budget and the scope of the renovations to be done to the schools. It also includes a timeline and a sample chart which homeowners can use to calculate about how much the levy will cost them per year over the 5 year live of the Levy. Committee members felt that most homeowners will be pleasantly surprised at how little the proposed Levy would actually raise their annual property taxes.

Small wording changes were suggested and made to this brochure by Committee members

Christina Smith presented a few ideas about a Levy Committee Facebook Page to help spread the need for the renovation project and for the proposed Excess School Levy. She proposed themes for the page which explain the importance of the Levy’s passage and of the subsequent renovations and upgrades –such as adding air conditioning to the schools- to both the success of students and of the Community as a whole.

In a final action, the Committee decided to establish a booth at the Harvest Day in Marlinton on September 24th and to hold public meetings about the Levy at the Hillsboro Fire Station, The Durbin Library, The Linwood Library, The Green Bank Library, and in Marlinton – probably in the Municipal Building. These meetings will be conducted at 6 p.m. over 3 or 4 days during the week of October 3rd through the 7th. There will be one final Countywide meeting held in Marlinton on Tuesday, November 1st. Members of the Committee say they are also available to speak at Community Organization meetings about the levy, such as Rotary, and Lions Clubs etc.

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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