Pocahontas County School Levy – Money; Trust; and Ongoing Maintenance Discussed
In his latest Superintendent’s Report, Pocahontas County School Superintendent Terrence Beam talks about a few key issues brought up by West Virginia School Building Authority Executive Director David Sneed during the last public school levy meeting held at the Opera House in Marlinton last Tuesday –November 1st. We will also include a few short recordings of Mr. Sneed’s actual related comments at that meeting.
”We had our last Levy community meeting at the opera house” said Beam. “Mr. Sneed is a very reassuring type of individual –very credible and we think that showed through last night in our meeting. He didn’t dodge any questions. We felt really good about that. He did have a few high points to his presentation. And one was that the money that will be generated by our levy and the money the SBA has promised is is now available for us.”
Listen as Mr. Sneed explained at the meeting.
“This morning I spent the entire morning with accountants and lawyers on the phone selling bonds for your project” said Sneed. “And so we have your money for your project now. That’s important for you to know, I think it’s important for you to know that we are deadly serious about this project.”
Mr. Beam talked about another issue that kept coming up at the public levy meetings –not trusting the Board of Education to spend any levy money received only for school renovations.
“One of the things Mr. Sneed mentioned was the fact that in the 26 years the SBA has been in existence, there has not been one penny that has been misappropriated or used in a fashion that was not appropriate for the project that was presented” said Beam. “We think that is real important for the citizens to understand is they (the SBA) have someone on staff whose entire job is to track every dime and every invoice and every transaction that the schools have with the SBA in the contract.”
As Mr. Sneed put it at the meeting.
“Every penny that’s sent out from the School Building Authority is audited daily” said Sneed. “We have an accountant –I don’t know if any of you saw the movie ‘Rain Man’ – that’s our accountant. Our accountant understands accounting and he also understands construction. We’ve never lost a dime, not literally a penny- I won’t even say a dime-that would be too primitive. That’s just the way we do it.”
Another issue that kept being raised over all of the public levy meetings was skepticism that the Board of Education would put in a funded maintenance plan to keep any newly renovated schools from deteriorating once again in the future. Mr. Beam.
“And finally he talked about maintenance” said Beam. “SBA requires that counties that receive money from the SBA have a maintenance plan that ensures that those projects are kept up to date and in good operation.
Mr. Sneed expanded on this at the meeting.
“If you get SBA money, there’s going to be someone coming around every year to inspect your buildings” said Sneed. “So we want to protect our investment and if your levy passes, you’ll want to protect your investment. I’m encouraged to know that you do have a plan for maintenance. We wouldn’t want these new schools to deteriorate in 5 or ten years.” (Audience member asks) “For how long?…” “Ever” Sneed answered. “Forever?” asked the audience member. “We started in 1990 and we’re still going around and looking at those schools” replied Sneed. “Every year someone from the State Department of Education will come around and they’ll do an inspection report and they will send that report to us and we follow-up if there are problems.”
Mr. Beam concluded his report.
“I can assure you that if this levy does pass that we will be getting more involvement from our citizens and our employees on how we move forward with the construction of the renovations of these buildings” said Beam. “I also need to say that we would really appreciate the support from our communities for our students of Pocahontas County. I thank the committee members, they have worked so hard on this, I’m so proud of all of them “I have got to mention Cara Rose and the work she has done. She has stood up there like a trooper and handled all the questions. She has worked so hard. I am really proud of her and again, we look forward to your support on Tuesday.”