Pocahontas County School Superintendent On the SBA Funding Offer (PART1)
Pocahontas School Superintendent Terrence Beam wanted to talk directly to the Community about the offer made by the School Building Authority –SBA- on December 14th to help fund needed school renovations. Mr. Beam.
“Of course today the elephant in the room that everybody is talking about is our SBA project and where we are with that, so we’re going to talk a little bit about that today” said Beam. “On the 14th of December I went to Charleston which was funding day, that’s the day the SBA passes out their money. To make a long story short, our project was nominated by one of the SBA members.”
Beam said that SBA member Tom Lank decided to look out for 8 smaller counties, including Pocahontas. Mr. Beam explains what the SBA decision means for the County.
“They granted us $100,000 and you know you can’t do anything with a hundred thousand dollars these days” said Beam. “But it’s called a reserve grant and the Reserve Grant is between 12 and 13 million dollars. And that is actually the money that will be available to us if we pass a levy sometime during the 2016 year. It’s a very competitive process; all counties come to the SBA , make a proposal- and they have money in hand to put up (for matching funds). We didn’t have any money to put up. To the best of my recollection, there were two counties that didn’t have any money in hand when they went and did their presentations. Mason county was one, and we were the other. Mason County was not funded, and we were – contingent on our levy passing.”
Beam provided more details.
“For this particular project, we have to come up with 5.9 million dollars” said Beam. “Now the last levy we tried to pass a few years ago would have generated more than that. But we have to make decisions on what our future goals are in our County. We can’t just be concerned about fixing Marlinton Middle School and moving the Elementary School and fixing Green Bank. Our high school is in as much disrepair as any of our buildings, maybe worse. So we have to think down the road on how we are going to address the high school situation in the near future. But this particular project was to repair Marlinton Middle School and Green Bank., and they funded that contingent on us passing our levy.”
Mr. Beam talks about how important it is to pass the levy.
“A lot of times they will give counties this Reserve Grant loan under the assumption they won’t have to give out the real money because the county probably won’t pass the levy” said Beam. “Well we have to buck that trend. In order for our buildings to survive, we got to pass this levy – we just have to. We’re not going to be cramming this down people’s throats, but we are going to be giving a lot of opportunities for town meetings. I will come and meet with any group, whether it’s the Women’s Club or the Lions Club or the Boy Scouts- whoever it is! I don’t care who it is! I will speak to groups about the SBA Project. We’re going to schedule some work sessions with our Board after the first of the year and we are going to determine the exact direction we want this to go, as far as the Levy call goes.”
Mr. Beam talks about providing the public with specific designs for the renovated schools.
“One of the things we are going to be doing is coming up with some designs of what these buildings are going to look like after the renovations are done” said Beam. “And that would include the high school. Parents need to know what that high school is going to look like if we indeed decide to move our 7th and 8th graders to that complex.”
This has been part one of a two part story where Mr. Beam briefs the community about the implications of the SBA’s decision to grant the Pocahontas County Schools a Reserve Loan of $100,000 with the promise that if the county passes a school levy in 2016 to come up with matching funds, the SBA will then grant the county between 12 and 13 million dollars to renovate Marlinton Middle School, move the students from Marlinton Elementary School to the Middle School and Renovate the Green Bank school.
Be sure to listen for Part 2, where Mr. Beam talks about the next project, renovating Pocahontas County High school to safely accept 7th and 8th graders, just how badly the these schools need repairs that cannot be afforded locally without SBA help and about how the levy will be presented to the community.