School Calendars Discussed at Pocahontas Board of Ed. Meeting

The Pocahontas County Board of Education held the first or its 2 annual school calendar public hearings at its March 5th regular Board meeting in front of a very small audience.

According to the proposed 2018-2019 school calendar, the schools will open next school year on August 9th for employees and on August 15th for students.  The Thanksgiving Break and Spring Break will remain the same and those days will not be used as make-up snow days. The First Semester ends on December 20th. Unless there is a need to make up snow days, the last day of school for students will be May 23rd 2019, and June 4th for employees.  A question was raised about school opening before the State Fair, and Ruth Bland, who was sitting in for the Superintendent at the meeting, explained that students showing animals could apply to take educational days to show their animals.

There will be another public hearing on the proposed 2018-2019 school calendar to be held at 5:30 p.m. just before the March 19th regular Board of Education Meeting and the public is encouraged to attend and comment.

This naturally led to questions about how the school employee walk-out will affect the remainder of this year’s school year.  Ruth Bland said that the only direction they have received so far from the State Board of Education was to first get through the walk-out, and then they would provide direction about any changes to this year’s school calendar. These changes could possibly involve changes to the April 10th to May 25th window for state testing.

As we know now, the walkout ended on March 7th, so we anticipate learning more about changes to this year’s schedule early next week when we meet with Superintendent Beam.

The WV Division of Forests requested a right of way through part of the PCHS campus to improve an existing dirt road which runs just inside the school’s property line near the water tower so that they can access remote parts of the Seneca State Forest for timber management purposes. They proposed gravelling the road, gating it, and posting it for authorized use only, which would include use by the school’s Forestry classes for educational purposes.  The Board members emphasized that they do not want public access to the road, particularly during hunting season as firearms are not permitted on school property. This will be placed on the next meeting agenda for consideration.

After approving routine financial reports and payments, the Board approved a Contract with the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation allowing construction of a public access trail on the Marlinton Elementary School campus for fisherman to access Knapp’s Creek. This contract will still require a few revisions at the next Board Meeting.

They approved the Entrance Age Policy which needed to be brought into compliance with new State Statutes regarding the ages of children entering Pre-School.

They authorized the Wendel Company to conduct an energy performance cost analysis at no cost to the Board of Education to determine the amount of energy savings the Board of Education could experience if Wendell upgrades their energy systems such as lighting and heating. Upgrades would be paid for using those savings without any upfront costs to the Board.

They approved P. Duane and Justin M. Karr to transport 14 students to the SkillsUSA Competition in Fairmont, WV on April 12-14, 2018, which will be paid for using vocational funds.

Board Member Joe Walker reported on his discussions with members of the School Building Authority (SBA) about the Board’s application for a major improvement Project or MIP to make repairs to the Green Bank School building. He said the SBA appears to understand that using MIP’s is the only option the Pocahontas County Schools have to repair their school buildings.

There was no personnel agenda for this meeting.

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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