Pocahontas County School Superintendent Reaches out to the Community
I recently sat down with Mr. Terrence Beam, the Pocahontas County School Superintendent as he delivered his monthly Allegheny Mountain Radio update to the citizens of the County. He wanted to talk about one of the big concerns of the community – the proposed school levy vote coming up in November. Mr. Beam.
“Good morning, Tim. It’s always good to spend a few minutes with you and talk about our schools in Pocahontas County” said Beam. Of course, the big topic that’s on everybody’s mind in our County is the school levy that we are going to be running in the general election in November. The only thing I want to share with you today –because I don’t want to use every session that we have to talk about the levy, there will be plenty of time to discuss those things. But I also want to make people know that we are trying to be very transparent about what we are trying to accomplish and the direction we are headed.
Mr. Beam describes some of his efforts towards being transparent about the effort to pass a levy.
“I’ve started getting around to different groups to talk to them” said Beam. “I’ve been invited to speak with different organizations about why we are running a levy, and what we are trying to accomplish.”
At a recent Board of Education Meeting, the Mayor of Marlinton presented a resolution opposing the proposed closing of Marlinton Elementary School, moving those students to the Marlinton Middle School facility. That would be done if the school levy passes. Mr. Beam talks about meeting with the Mayor to explain why this has been proposed. Mr. Beam.
“And last week, I met with Mayor Sam Felton here in Marlinton” Beam said. “We had a very good conversation. I explained to him that I realized that the Mayor has the citizens of Marlinton that he has to answer to and their best interest to look out for. And I explained to him that my job is to look out for the students of Pocahontas County, and I didn’t think that necessarily those need to be on different sides. I think that we can work to try and make things better for the Town, and the Town can help us also in the goals that we have. So we started that conversation and we are going to meet from time to time and I think it is going to be a good working relationship that I have with the Mayor.”
The superintendent has also been meeting with other groups to foster transparent communications.
“The second thing, I met with the Women’s’ Club last Thursday” said Beam. “I intended on spending maybe fifteen-twenty minutes, I ended up taking an hour, because there was just so much that I wanted to try to cover, and they had so many questions they wanted to have answered. And we had a very good meeting, and I think I will probably be invited back to expand on some things.”
Mr. Beam is certainly aware that attempts to pass a school levy in this County in the past has met with opposition due to distrust and lack of communication, and he believes that if the citizens are made aware of the financial problems the schools have and are invited to partner with the schools to try and solve them, they can, in a team effort, secure the state funding the schools desperately need to fix their crumbling school facilities. Mr. Beam explains he is anxious to openly talk with any civic group about the problems facing the schools and the solutions. Mr. Beam.
“So what I wanted to do this morning is just to take the opportunity to encourage the different civic groups in our community to give me a call and invite me to come to their meeting and I’ll be glad to answer any questions they have that I have the information for” said Beam. “We don’t have all the answers yet, but I can give them an idea of the direction we are going and why we are going in this direction. Whether it’s the Lions Club, or the Senior Citizens or whoever it may be. I am willing to meet with them anytime and answer their questions, so that’s mainly what I wanted to share with you this morning –just opening up that avenue of communication between me and the citizens of Pocahontas county.”
In a further effort to keep the public informed about the crisis facing the schools regarding their aging and failing facilities, Mr. Beam arranged for us to interview Mr. Ron Hall, the Maintenance Director of the schools who details the state of each of the schools. Listen for that upcoming story on Allegheny Mountain Radio.