Published On: Wed, Jan 15th, 2014

MES suffers major water damage after breakage

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At the board of education meeting Monday night, super- intendent Dr. Donald Bechtel sang the praises of school employees and outside contractors who worked diligently to clean up Marlinton Elementary School after it suffered a major water break due to a power outage and cold temperatures.

“On Thursday, it didn’t look like we were going to have school on Monday, it was so bad,” Bechtel said. “I just want to compliment what activated with our leaders. On Thursday, there were three office components – Mr. Hall’s [office], the vault and the guidance counselor’s room were just inundated with water. Three classrooms were damaged severely and the computer lab.”

Once the break was discovered, the central office and maintenance crew joined the MES faculty in the clean-up process. Treasurer Sherry Radcliff contacted the insurance company and technology director Ruth Bland determined the amount of damage to the computers and other electronics.

“Mr. Hall with his faculty was leading the process of just cleaning, moving furniture out of the classrooms and the office area,” Bechtel said. “All the dry wall was coming down from the ceiling and all the insulation.”

Bechtel added that custodians Thomas Barnisky and Frank Barrett worked with volunteers on the clean up, and Darin McKenney and David Arter worked with drywallers to get the school back in shape.

“Once they determined the moisture was decreased, which was through using space heaters and fans, the actual maintenance crew, and some outside drywallers went to work,” Bechtel said. “They worked until Saturday morning at 3 a.m. and then they worked all day Saturday and stayed until 1 a.m. on Sunday morning. They were just committed to having school on Monday for the kids.”

Pocahontas County High School also suffered minor water breaks in the field house and vocational building.

In updates:

Director of federal programs Terrence Beam shared information on the new state department of education requirements for the school calendar.

“It is going to be a complicated process because it’s so new,” Beam said. “In the past it didn’t really matter how many days you missed, you go to June 8 and that’s as far as you can go. That has all changed and now we have to actually create a calendar that shows that you’re capable of having school all the way to June 30.”

The state policy requires schools to make up all missed days, two-hour delays and two-hour dismissals. The make-up days may be taken from holidays like Thanksgiving break or Easter break, or the schools may have to go into late June.

Beam said the board is required to hold two public hearings to allow parents and students to give input on the calendar.

The public hearings will be Monday, February 3, at 7 p.m. at Marlinton Middle School and Monday, February 17, at 7 p.m. at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School. Parents with students at all five schools are asked to attend one of the hearings.

A follow-up article on the school calendar will be in The Pocahontas Times next week.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• Contract between Pocahontas County Board of Education and Marc Harshman, to conduct workshops on the writing process for teachers from Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Hillsboro Elementary School, Marlinton Middle School and Marlinton Elementary School. Harshman will be compensated $1,650, to be paid out of Title II funds.

• Contract between Pocahontas County Board of Education and Katherine Snyder to provide six three-hour book study sessions with Marlinton Middle School teachers during the second semester of the 2013-2014 school year at a rate of $200 per session.

• Resolution between the Pocahontas County Board of Education and the West Virginia Education Association to support a multi-year salary increase for all school employees, both service and professional.

• To partner with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to host a county-wide science fair on April 8, 2014 at the NRAO facility.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Unpaid medical leave of absence of Cammie J. Wade, classroom aide/bus aide at Marlinton Elementary School, effective February 24 until April 27.

• Resignation of Daniel E. Arbogast, II, as itinerant supervisory special education classroom aide/bus aide/paraprofessional, male position, for Pocahontas County Schools, effective at the end of the day on January 15.

• Abolishment of position itinerant supervisory special education classroom aide/bus aide/paraprofessional, male position, for Pocahontas County Schools, effective at the end of the day on January 15.

• Creation of position itinerant supervisory special education classroom aide/bus aide for Pocahontas County Schools, effective February 12 for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year. Term of employment is 80 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.

• Resignation of Lowell Galford as teacher of alternative education for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to December 20, 2013.

• Employment of Jean O. Srodes as at-risk interventionist at Pocahontas County High School, effective January 15 for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year, at $20 per hour, not to exceed $16,600.

• Resignation of Michelle D. Jeffers as mentor teacher, mentoring Stephanie Workman, retroactive to December 13.

The next board meeting will be Monday, January 27, at 7 p.m. at Pocahontas County High School.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at

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