Senator Capito to Pocahontas County Board of Education –Expect No More National Forest Money

In his Superintendent’s Report to the Board of Education at their June 5th meeting, Pocahontas County School Superintendent Terrence Beam informed the Board that he has recently met with U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, and was told to not expect any more SRS Money – or as it is popularly known National Forest money. The amount of money received by the Board of Education from the Federal Government’s SRS program has declined dramatically over the last few years. It has now apparently ended completely.

In other bad news delivered to the Board, Ron Hall, Pocahontas County School’s Director of Maintenance Ron Hall, accompanied by the soon retiring Sewer Plant Operator at Pocahontas County High School, Morgan McComb, told the Board that even if the SBA approves the Board’s application to receive funds to replace the High School’s Sewer Plant under a Major Improvement Project, the new plant could not be built before school starts, and the old plant will need expensive emergency repairs just to make it operational for start of the new school year. They said that 25 loads of mud washed into the plant and sand filters in the storms a few weeks ago, and will have to be removed and hauled away, which could cost up to 15 thousand dollars. Hall said the only good news is that the suspected leak at the plant has been plugged by the mud, at least temporarily. McComb says the sand filters must be cleaned before school starts, but that would only be a “temporary solution to a permanent problem” since broken pipes are pushing ground water into the plant which in turn pushed solids from the plant into the sand filters which are only meant to filter liquids. These filters may have to be cleaned out by hand shoveling, an unenviable job.

Hall said that if the SBA turns down the sewer replacement money request, the only conceivable solution would be to seek watershed protection grants, which may or may not be available.

Kristy Tritapoe, Athletic Director for PCHS relayed Football Head Coach Doug Burns’ request to enlarge the football practice field at no cost to the Board, which the board had no objection to allowing.

New Student Representative to the Board, Hunter Wilfong, delivered his first report to the Board, and emphasized that he is looking forward to his term as Board Representative.

The Board approved the usual financial reports; payment of vender bills; the May Extra Duty pay; 2 grant awards; April’s Bank Reconciliation Statement, and the Employee payroll for May 22nd.

They also approved the Step 7 and the Food Service Budgets for next school year and approved the purchase of Workers Compensation Insurance from Travelers Insurance at a considerable cost reduction from their previous insurance provider.

In non-financial decisions, the Board approved Duane Gibson and Joseph Warder to transport four students to the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky on June 19th to the 23rd.

They placed two policies on 30 day comment, and approved four policies –these can be found on the Board of Education’s Website.

The Board approved an agreement with Fire & Life Safety America to inspect the fire and safety equipment at each of the five schools and at the bus fleet and Wellness Center.

The Board approved PCHS to combing Spanish 5 and Advanced Placement Spanish as one two credit course next school year, and approved the school to offer Computer Application 1 and 2 as one two credit course next year as well.

They approved the adoption of a Standards Based Report Card for first and second grades net year.

The Board also approved the proposed personnel agenda, with the exception of Dottie Chestnut being employed as a Custodian III at PCHS, which item was pulled from the agenda before being voted on. A link to that proposed agenda can be found with this story on our website.

In the Matters of the Board section of the meeting, Board Member Joe Walker encouraged the Superintendent to actively look for a new location for the Board Office which was becoming too expensive to keep open due to flood damages and the increasing costs of flood insurance. He suggested a new office could be bought with unspent flood insurance money received for past floods.

Below is the link to the Personnel agenda from the Pocahontas Board of Education’s June 5th meeting. Please note, one item -Dottie Chestnut’s employment as a Custodian 3 at PCHS was pulled from this agenda before it was voted on.

6-5-17 Professional-and-Service-Personnel.-1

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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