School Maintenance and Safety Issues Discussed at Pocahontas Board of Education Meeting
Ron Hall, the Pocahontas County Board of Education’s Maintenance Director presented a large list of major priorities to be repaired, replaced or maintained and expressed his frustrations at the July 16th Board of Education meeting. Hall said that his major priority involves repairing and/or replacing the fire alarms and sprinklers at all of the schools, especially at Marlinton Elementary and the Green Bank school buildings. The list, in addition to the alarms and sprinklers, included items like servicing all freezers, refrigerators, and furnaces; obtaining and installing a new compressor at PCHS; a new garage door at the Annex Building; and moving all excess items from the old BOE Office to the Annex building for storage as well as other items.
In addition to the items on the list, Hall said that an Americans with Disabilities Civil Rights Review requires that covered handicapped be provided from the PCHS cafeteria down the steep grade to the Vocational building by December 31st or the schools will be fined. Hall said this access will need to be either a covered handicapped ramp or an elevator. Hall said that both of these options – the elevator or building a covered concrete walkway at the required grade will be very expensive.
Hall stressed that there are also additional serious problems at the school facilities including major electrical overloads at each of the schools, issues in school bathrooms and water pipes freezing in most schools because they were installed in un-insulated attics when the schools were built. Hall summed his frustrations up this way. “not enough people, not enough money and not enough time.”
Board President Joe Walker said that for the past 30 years, money was never set aside for major emergency repair and replacement issues. He suggested that the unexpected Forest Service money received this year – about
$290.000, be set aside as such an emergency fund after spending about $50,000 of it to replace the alarm systems at Green Bank Elementary/Middle and Marlinton Elementary Schools.
OWPR Architects representatives updated the Board on the status of the SBA approved Major Improvement Project at PCHS. He said that since all the bids for construction for the project came in over the SBA budget, the SBA will allowing the use of local contractors to install the new waste water plant at the budgeted cost because that is an emergency project. The plant itself is being purchased and delivery to the site should fully arrive by the end of September. However replacing the PCHS Fire Alarm system and replacing the water tank need to be rebid.
The Board voted to contract with Young to find, write and manage new grants..
Ruth Bland, Director of Transportation talked about the purchase of one new gasoline and one new diesel school bus. She said the gasoline bus is part of a new WV Department of Education pilot program to see if gasoline buses will work as well and are more economical then diesel. The Board approved this bus purchases later in the meeting. Bland also talked about problems they are having hiring, training and retaining bus drivers.
Dustin Lambert, Principal of Marlinton Middle School briefed the Board on a new program proposed for use in the schools, the WISE Program, which stands for “Working to Institutionalize Sex Education.” A memorandum of Understanding (or MOU) with the non-profit company WVFREE, which runs the WISE program was approved by the Board. According to this MIU, WVFREE “exists to support reproductive health, rights and Justice.” Lambert said this program will teach abstinence but not exclusively. He said parental permission forms will be sent out which will include a full explanation of what kids will be taught in the WISE classes. It will give parents the option to keep their child out of WISE classes, however Lambert said the program is needed because Pocahontas County is sixth in the state in teen pregnancies. The MOU was approved by the Board.
The Board approved the following Personnel Agenda:
Marlinton Elementary School:
REQUESTED TRANSFER: SHANNON ANDERSON, from Teacher of Early Education at Hillsboro Elementary School, to Teacher of Early Education at Marlinton Elementary School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience. Term of employment is 200 days.
Pocahontas County High School:
RESIGNATION: KATHERINE WHITE, as Teacher of Science at Pocahontas County High School, retroactive to July 6, 2018.
EMPLOYMENT: DERRICK TRULL, as Teacher of Science at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience. Term of employment is 200 days.
EMPLOYMENT: SHANDA CARR, as Teacher of Science at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience. Term of employment is 200 days.
EMPLOYMENT: LAUREN GOODWIN, as Teacher of Mathematics at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience. Term of employment is 200 days.
Pocahontas County Schools:
EMPLOYMENT: MARK D. WALTON as Custodian III/Truck Driver/Groundsman/General Maintenance/Sanitation Plant Operator for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to July 2, 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic pay, term of employment is 240 days.
EMPLOYMENT: Of the following as Academic Interventionist for Pocahontas County Schools, effective August 21, 2018 through May 25, 2019, at $20 per hour, three hours per day, as needed – not to exceed $7,000 per position.
Kay Blackshire – Green Bank Elementary-Middle School
Linda VanReenen – Hillsboro Elementary School
Margaret Worth – Marlinton Middle School
EMPLOYMENT: Of the following as Parent Involvement Coordinator for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to July 2, 2018 through May 15, 2019, at $20 per hour –125 hours – not to exceed $2,500 per positions. Schedule to be determined by Director of Federal Programs but cannot be extended beyond May 15, 2019. Salary to be paid for by Title IV funds.
EMPLOYMENT: DORTHIE I. SHAMBLIN, as Teacher – Extended School Year for Pocahontas County Schools (assignment: Marlinton Middle School), retroactive to July 2, 2018 through August 4, 2018, at $20 per hour, 25-30 hours per week.
EMPLOYMENT: JESSICA McLAUGHLIN, as Teacher – Extended School Year, for Pocahontas County Schools (assignment: Marlinton Elementary School), retroactive to July 2, 2018 through August 8, 2018, at $20 per hour, 3 hours per day, 4 days per week.
EMPLOYMENT: LAUREN BROOKE DICKENSON, as Teacher – Extended School Year, for Pocahontas County Schools (assignment: Green Bank Elementary-Middle School), retroactive to June 27, 2018 through August 2, 2018, at $20 per hour, 2 hours per day, 4 days per week.
EMPLOYMENT: JENNIFER CHESTNUT, as Speech/Language Pathologist for Pocahontas County Schools (assignment: Green Bank Elementary-Middle School), retroactive to June 27, 2018 through August 2, 2018, at $20 per hour, 30 minutes per day, 2 days per week.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE: Consider Leave of Absence Request of Kenny Samples under State code 18A-2-2A, not to exceed one year.
The next Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, August 6th at 6 pm. There will also be an Open House at the new School Board Office, 404 Old Buckeye Road, Buckeye, WV beginning at 10 am on August 6th. The public is invited.