The WV SBA Makes an Offer to the Pocahontas County Schools

The Pocahontas County Board of Education met on Monday evening, December 14th. That day was also “Funding Day” in Charleston where the State School Building Authority – the SBA- met to name which county school systems would be getting funded to build or renovate their schools. Over 20 counties, including Pocahontas County, had applied for large chunks of the 50 million dollars the SBA had to fund school building projects.

Several months ago, Pocahontas County had applied to the SBA for over 12 million dollars in order to close Marlinton Elementary School because it needed many vital renovations which would not even be considered for state funding because it is in a flood plain. The county’s request would also include funds to renovate Marlinton Middle School, which is not in a flood plain to accommodate the students from Marlinton Elementary and funds to renovate Green Bank Elementary-Middle School since that school may become unusable in a few years because of so many critical repairs needed to the heating, plumbing, sewerage, sprinkler systems and other parts of the school that are impossibly expensive for the County School System to ever afford without SBA assistance.

Well, as School Superintendent Terrance Beam explained to the Board of Education at Monday’s meeting, the County’s project proposal was not approved by the SBA, but was not completely turned down either. Mr. Beam.

“I was at the SBA funding day in Charleston today and it was an interesting day” said Beam. “It was just everybody everywhere, waiting to see who was going to get the money. Tom Lang made a proposal- he called it a rural proposal- and he included 9 counties in that proposal. He said ‘we’ve got counties out there that have one or two maintenance people and they’ve got Superintendents filling 3 and 4 jobs’ all these kind of things. And he said ‘sometimes we forget about the little guys’ which we were in that (group of 9 counties). Anyway, to make a long story short, we were funded a hundred thousand dollars. All that is, is a Reserve Grant.”

A Reserve Grant? Mr. Beam went on to explain what that is.

“”What that means is, we can use that hundred thousand dollars if we choose to, if we choose to run a levy to come up with our matching funds” said Beam. “Our project is about twelve and a half million dollars that the SBA would be providing to us if we can pass a levy to come up with our matching funds. I don’t want to get too deep into it because it’s a little sketchy as to how it’s going to work. The hundred thousand dollars that they’ve given us is something that we can actually use to help pay for the levy but anything we spend of that hundred thousand dollars if our levy fails we have to pay that back.”

More details will be forthcoming about this.

Student Board Representative Emily Booth made her report about things going on at the high school.

Sherry Radcliff, the Schools’ Treasurer made her report to the Board, including talking about a letter she received from the WV Division of Finance and Administration which says that low energy prices have dragged down state tax collections, and this is projected to remain the case for the foreseeable future. As a result, school systems can expect major decreases in state funding in FY 2017, and to start preparing for these now.

The Board approved routine financial expenditures and reports.

They voted on placing a new School Calendar Policy on 30 day comment. This policy would appear to streamline the process of determining the school calendar.

They approved the Equine Therapy program for Marlinton Middle School using Shayna Meadows Therapy and Wellness at a cost of $1000.00 for 8 weeks. The entire cost of this is being paid fore by the Snowshoe Foundation.

The Board approved Cory McNabb as a volunteer boy’s basketball coach at the high school, and approved a field trip to Monticello which will be paid for by vocational funds.
The Board approved three Personnel Actions.

1. The employment of Richard Hartzell as Softball Coach at the High school at a supplemental pay of $750.00
2. The resignation of Sarah Eves as a Substitute Teacher at PCHS
3. The resignation of Mary Sue Burns as a Teacher at PCHS due to retirement at the end of the school year.

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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