Bennett qualifies for national competition

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At Monday night’s Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, Director of Transportation Ruth Bland gave the board good news from a recent transportation conference held in Oglebay.

Bland said bus mechanics Ian Bennett and Justin Taylor both participated in a bus mechanic competition and Bennett was named West Virginia Bus Inspector of the Year.

“What they do is, they demonstrate their skill and knowledge in the areas of school bus maintenance and repair,” Bland said. “They have to go through a written exam, along with a certain number of diagnostic hands-on stations completed by each competitor in the event.”

With his win, Bennett qualified for the national competition which will be held November 3 in Columbus, Ohio. Bland will attend the conference with Bennett, where he will have a chance to be named National Bus Inspector of the Year.
“I’m quite proud of him,” Bland said. “His work is just stellar – both of our mechanics [are stellar]. This is quite an honor for Pocahontas County Schools. It’s just been four years that we started competing in this, so this is his fourth year of competing, and he became number one.

“Very, very pleased with his award, and I’m sure that makes a lot of people in the county feel good about the mechanics and the safety of our buses,” Bland added.

The good news continued as Superintendent Terrence Beam reported that a recent article in US News gave a ranking of the high schools in West Virginia and Pocahontas County High School was ranked 14th.

“Pocahontas County High Schools is ranked as the fourteenth best high school in West Virginia, based on the graduation rate of eighty-three percent, and the AP course participation of twenty-five percent,” Beam said. “So twenty-five percent of our kids are in AP courses, which is extremely high, and our graduation rate has improved from last year.”

In updates:

• Beam reported that he and his staff reviewed the service personnel substitute list and made some changes to reflect the county’s policy.

He said that, according to the policy, if a substitute does not work at least 50 percent of the jobs they are called for, they are removed from the substitute list. In following this rule, Beam said the list has grown rather small.

Beam explained that those who have been removed from the list have the opportunity to reapply to be subs and will not have to retake the test to do so. Those who reapply will be added to the bottom of the list.

In financial management, the board approved the following:

• School Build Authority of West Virginia Major Improvement Project Grant award in the amount of $925,443.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• Partnership agreement between Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation Board and Pocahontas County Board of Education, effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, for the 2017-2018 school year.

• WV Pre-K agreement between Pocahontas County Board of Education and Schools Days Child Care, LLC, effective August 23, for the 2017-2018 school year, wherein the parties will collaborate to provide pre-school services up to 20 children, at a contract amount of $75,000. Meals will be reimbursed to SDCC, LLC at the rate of $2.05 for each breakfast served and $3.30 for each lunch served, not to exceed $15,000.

• Agreement dated May 2, 2017, between Pocahontas County Commission and the Pocahontas County Board of Education, wherein PCBOE will have use of the building located on 300 Second Avenue, in Marlinton, for designated athletic practices.

• Pocahontas County Senior Citizens, Inc. to construct or purchase a storage shed on the Hillsboro Elementary School campus, all cost to be paid for by the Pocahontas County Senior Citizens, Inc., including, but not limited to site preparation, construction costs, maintenance costs and insurance coverage.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Employment of Jessica Shinaberry as athletic trainer at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2017-2018 season, at a supplement of $2,500. Position contingent upon adequate number of players to make a team.

• Resignation of Maria McCoy-Hanna as itinerant teacher of special education/autism for Pocahontas County Schools, August 1.

• Rescind reduction in force of Jeanette D. Wagner as itinerant teacher of special education/autism for Pocahontas County Schools, effective August 10 for the 2017-2018 school year at state basic salary based on degree and experience. Term of employment is 200 days.

• Employment of substitute teachers for Pocahontas County Schools, as needed, for the 2017-2018 school year, at state basic pay based on degree and experience.

The next board meeting is Monday, August 7, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.

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