Third Time’s The Charm For Farm To Schools Matching Grant
Marlinton, WV – The third time’s the charm for Americorps Vista Adrienne Cedarleaf. At two previous meetings of the Pocahontas County Board of Education, her request for a $6000.00 cash match for the Farm to School local foods program was rejected. At their meeting this week, the board approved the cash match, which means the program will also qualify for up to $20,000.00 in federal funding. She had a little help from Marlinton middle school Principal Joe Riley. He says the Farm to School program is a big deal.
“This is something that is huge; it’s not just West Virginia, it’s everywhere, and it’s become a big push to get local foods in the school systems,” says Riley. “We met with quite a few people from the [state] Dept of Education.”
Riley says the state believes so strongly in this program that they’re willing to put up some cash.
“They have come up with $250,000.00 for the state that they will match you dollar for dollar if you buy local food,” he says. “By October 1st, it’s probably all going to be gone, so get on the band wagon and get it done early so that you can just see how it works. There are so many people that are wanting to get on board that haven’t had the opportunity yet; it’s a big initiative and we need to try to make this happen as much as we can in Pocahontas County.”
Board President Kenny Vance said he was still uncomfortable with the $6000.00 commitment given that the board has not yet determined next year’s school budget. However, when it to a vote, the funding was approved 3 to 2 with Vance and board member Tommy VanReenan opposed.
In other business, Attendance Director Susan Borror gave board members the results of an extensive student survey on the prevalence of bullying in the schools. She told them she would answer any questions about it after board members have a chance to read through it. She also told them about another program coming to the county – a juvenile drug court.
“This was out of the Juvenile justice system out of Charleston, [WV] Supreme Court; it’s also with Judge [James] Rowe,” says Borror. “We are talking about getting a juvenile drug court started in Pocahontas and Greenbrier County. They are going to start that in Greenbrier County, there will be probation officer hired strictly for this program. They will have a case load of probably about 21 clients.”
“This is a voluntary program, although they can be referred to the program by a judge or teacher. The target population is 10 to 17 years old.”
She says in order for a child to be referred to the program, they have to have been charged with a drug related criminal offense. It’s an afterschool program and will be moving to Pocahontas once the program is established in Greenbrier. Borror’s request for $2500.00 for two part time Vista volunteers to help with dropout prevention was tabled until the next board meeting.
On the personnel agenda, Superintendent CC Lester announced that Mike Knisely is stepping down from his position at the high school.
“Michael Knisely, as expected, submitted his resignation to the board for consideration as Dean of Students [at the high school] due to his inability to afford the courses to pursue the Master of Administration as agreed upon at his hiring,” says Lester. “And [he’s] also resigning as football coordinator effective the end of his contract term.”
Cynthia Pritt is employed as seasonal softball coordinator, Lisa Dennison as the coordinator of child nutrition and the food service/technology integration specialist for county schools, and Leslie Cain as a substitute teacher. The board also accepted the resignation of Brad Landis as electrician, retroactive to February 28th, 2012.