WV Dept. of Education’s Finance Office Places Pocahontas Schools on Financial “Watch List”

Pocahontas County Schools Treasurer Sherry Radcliff reported at the Board of Education’s October 12th meeting that Amy Willard, Executive Director of the WV Department of Education’s Office of School Finance has informed her that the Pocahontas County Schools have been placed on their Financial Watch List. Sherry explains about the phone call she received from Amy.

“She wants to put our County (Schools) on a (financial) watch list” said Sherry. “She gave me two or three reasons. One is we did not pass a Levy. We are in the black, not in the red but she felt that because we had a $76,000 carryover this year compared to 200and some (thousand) dollar carryover last year because of our expenses in maintenance.”

Sherry also told the Board that the State funds to the County Schools have been cut by 1% which equals about an $85,000 cut, and that the State is considering another 3% cut on top of that, which would be about an additional $255,000 cut in State Aid.

Sherry was also told that although we are supposed to get National Forest Service money again this year, we should not necessarily count on that happening. Sherry says she feels we will get by this year, but she is very worried about next year. Sherry clarified that being placed on the State’s Watch list means that she will have to file additional financial reports monthly to the Office of School Finance.

Interim School Superintendent Beam reported to the Board that he has prioritized the development and implementation of emergency evacuation plans for each school. Mr. Beam.

“I’ve talked to Mr. Hall for the last month or so, even before we had that incident at the High School a couple of weeks ago” said Mr. Beam. “Our Emergency Evacuation plans at out schools, I’ve never felt real comfortable with them because I don’t really know how prepared schools really are if an incident occurs. And so I sit down with him (Mr. Ronald Hall, Director of Safe Schools for Pocahontas County Schools) and we come up with some guidelines to give out at the Principals meeting tomorrow morning – we’re going to go through it with the Principals to provide us with an action plan on exactly how they are going to handle certain situations at their school, and conduct drills at those schools with the kids so that they know how to react in certain situations.”

Mr. Beam noted how important it is to have an action plan available in each school in case a major incident requiring evacuation does happen. When things are chaotic Administrators can simply read the prepared actions to take rather than have to think about what to do.

The School Board approved the proposal they sent to the West Virginia School Building Authority retroactively to September 30th. The proposal they submitted included:

  • Closing Marlinton Elementary School
  • Adding additions to Marlinton Middle School to accommodate Marlinton Elementary Students
  • Renovating the Green Bank School
  • Moving the 7th and 8th grade students from both Middle Schools to Pocahontas High School.

There was no mention of closing Hillsboro Elementary School in the submitted proposal!

In addition to those actions, the Board approved payroll, vender claims, grant awards, extra duty pay for August and September, several field trips for students and the following Professional and Service Personnel Agenda.

  1. RESIGNATION -Joseph Arbogast– Resignation as Principal of Hillsboro elementary School effective October 16th, 2015.
  2. UNPAID MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCESarah C. Brown as Teacher of Title at Hillsboro Elementary School –effective December 1, 2015 or upon exhaustion of her accumulated personal leave for up to 12 weeks as needed.
  3. UNPAID MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCEShannon C. Anderson as Teacher of Early Education at Hillsboro Elementary School –retroactive to October 6, 2015 or upon exhaustion of her accumulated personal leave for up to 8 weeks.
  4. EMPLOYMENT –Melissa Erin Baldwin as Parent Involvement Coordinator for Pocahontas County Schools, Effective October 14, 2015 for the remainder of the school year. At $20 per hour -200 hours-not to exceed $4,000.00, paid by Title VI funds.
  5. EMPLOYMENT – of the following as Substitute Administrator effective October 14, 2015, as needed for the remainder of the school year at daily rate of pay plus $25.00.
  • Phillip Anderson
  • William Brown
  • Cheryl Nelson
  • Anne Smith

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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