WV School Board Association’s Executive Director Addresses Pocahontas Co. Board of Ed.

During the work session at the beginning of the Pocahontas County Board of Education’s August 21st meeting, Dr. Howard O’Cull, the Executive Director of the WV School Board Association presented information to the Board about what will replace the RESAs, or Regional Education Services Agencies.

This year the WV Legislature passed House Bill 2711 which requires the establishment of four County Superintendents’ Advisory Councils. Pocahontas County will be in quadrant #1 along with Braxton, Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe. Nicholas, Raleigh, summers, Webster and Wyoming counties. The sole purposes for these Advisory councils are to promote collaboration among counties and to interface with the State Board of Education about issues.

The law also authorizes local school boards to establish formal Educational Services Cooperatives (or ESCs) with other local school boards to economically provide the administrative and academic support services previously provided by the REASs.

It also authorized local school boards to enter into less formal cooperative agreements with other school boards to assist each other by sharing the services of educational specialists, support functions or other academic study services.

The law does not require that local boards enter into either ESCs or cooperative agreements, but provides them with the option of doing so. These could enable several school districts to share the expenses of continuing to provide educational and administrative support services which were previously provided by the RESAs.  As an example of this, he cited the pairing up of two county school systems where one has the resources to administer support programs while the other county does not have those personnel resources. but already has the program up and running. O’Cull also said cooperating school boards could share the cost of hiring an educational specialist to provide services to each cooperating school board..

Dr. O’Cull said the School Board Association is still working on developing templates to formalize the procedures to establish and run ESC’s and Cooperatives.

O’Cull also discussed a module containing the requirements for Board of Education Meetings imposed by The Open Meeting Act.

Michelle Jeffers spoke to the Board under the Delegation portion of the meeting, asking for clarification about the status of the sprinkler and fire alarm systems at Green Bank Elementary -Middle and Marlinton Elementary Schools. She said the Fire Marshall’s recent report seems to indicate those systems are in better shape “than the public has been led to believe.”

Jay miller also addressed the Board and said that information he has received  has led him to believe that there is no requirement that the $180,000 insurance claim money the Board has accumulated for floods and fires at the School Board Office must be spent on repairing or replacing the School Board Offices, therefore that money can and should be used to fix the problems at Green Bank Elementary-Middle and Marlinton Elementary instead of on purchasing a new Board Office.

The Board did not address or answer either of these delegates’ questions since those issues were not on the agenda for this meeting.

Hunter Tankersley, Student Representative reported that the students at PCHS had the opportunity to view the Solar Eclipse at the Observatory, the football Team won its multi-school scrimmage at Midland Trail, the Soccer Team has a home game scheduled for august 22nd at home, and that the new 7 period class schedule seems to be working at PCHS.

In other actions, they approved Stephanie Burns and Jenny Friel as volunteer cheerleading coaches at Marlinton Middle School and approved a professional and Service Personnel agenda which may be found on our website with this story.

During the Matters of the Board, Member Jamie Walker asked the status of the litigation the Board has with the State over the funds the State admittedly shorted Pocahontas County Schools over the last several years. and was told it remains pending.

The Board meeting ended with Joe Walker asking for an Executive Session to discuss “property Matters.” Following the adjournment of the meeting, I asked Joe Walker which provision of the Open Meetings Act allows for an Executive Session for property matters, and he clarified that it is covered under the “Commercial Competition” reason since they discussed a still pending property purchase.

Click below to see the Professional and Service Personnel Actions passed by the Board of Education at this meeting.

8-21-17 Personnel Agenda DOC

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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