The board of education continues to weigh the options of the Feed to Achieve program which would provide free breakfast and lunch in the schools. Rick Wilson, Director of the West Virginia Economic Justice Project, provided more information on the program at Monday night’s board meeting.
“Over the last few years we have worked to try to encourage counties and schools to implement the Feed to Achieve legislation,” Wilson said. “There are four reasons, basically, why people chose to do it. One is to improve child nutrition and all the things that go with that. Two, it can reduce paperwork and even save schools money, sometimes. Three, it’s great for working families, and four, it eliminates any of the stigma that might come with getting free or reduced lunch, so eating just becomes part of the day.”
Wilson provided the board with a packet which shows the benefits of Feed to Achieve, as well as which counties in West Virginia are currently implementing the program.
While there are some downsides to the program – low participation rates equal a cost for the board – Wilson said the pros outweigh the cons.
As the board reviewed the information, Marlinton Elementary School cook Becky Evans said she feels the participation rate will increase if the program is implemented.
“I think we would see a lot less candy bars, cookies, potato chips and soda pop,” she said. “I think we ought to try it for one year and see what happens in that year because when I started at Marlinton Elementary, it was low and then that’s when we started cooking from scratch. We started with fifty-seven [participating] at breakfast. By the end of October, we were well over one hundred.
“We’re never going to know if it’s going to help if we never try,” Evans continued.
With the increase in participation, Evans said her only concern was being able to handle that many meals with just two cooks. She said the addition of a half-time cook at MES would help.
The board asked Director of Food Services Lisa Dennison to provide a list of participation rates at each school for the past three years to use as a guide. The board also asked for an estimate of costs if more positions would be needed.
Superintendent Terrence Beam said he would collect information for the board to provide them a better understanding of the current food service program. The board will review the information and make a decision at its next meeting.
• Beam gave special recognition to several individuals and businesses in the community that helped the board recently.
This summer, Marlinton Middle School student Savannah McMillion worked with the credit recovery program to assist students with math.
“Savannah is a very bright kid,” he said. “She was helping some of the kids during credit recovery with math so they could get into Math 1. She was able to relate to those kids better than the teacher.”
Beam added that the board received shipment of textbooks in the last few weeks and received help with unloading and storing them.
“Burn’s Motor Freight allowed us to use their bays to store some of the textbooks before we sent them out to the schools – we didn’t have room for everything,” he said. “Richardson’s let us use their forklift to move stuff around. I think Bucky helped with that. Then we had a student from the middle school, Landon Gibson. I think he was just kind of passing by and jumped in and decided to help unload the truck.”
In financial management, the board approved the following:
• Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amounts of $29,346.52 and $40,217.16.
• Extra Duty Pay for the month of July, 2016; WVDE Variance Explanations for the month of June, 2016; and Grant Awards.
• Trash Service Agreement between Allegheny Disposal, LLC and Pocahontas County Board of Education for Hillsboro Elementary School, Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and Pocahontas County High School.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• To place Policy IKJ – Pocahontas County Athletics Policy on 30-day comment period.
• To Amend Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting schedule; meetings will begin at 6 p.m., effective August 22, 2016.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Rescind resignation of Samantha J. Feather as teacher of multi-subjects at Marlinton Elementary School.
• Employment of James D. Chestnut as custodian III at Pocahontas County High School and Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, at state basic pay, retroactive to August 1, for the 2016-2017 school year. Shift: 2 to 10 p.m. Term of employment is 220 days.
• Employment of Cory A. McNabb as golf coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2016-2017 season, at a supplement of $600.
• Employment of the following as academic interventionist for Pocahontas County Schools, effective August 15 through May 12, 2017, at $20 per hour, three hours per day, as needed, not to exceed $7,000 per position: Lucy M. Rittenhouse – Green Bank Elementary- Middle School; Linda H. VanReenen – Hillsboro Elementary School; and Teresa Barb – Marlinton Elementary School.
• Employment of the following mentors, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, at a supplement of $1,000: Virginia Shaw mentoring Susan Grant, and Courtney Curran mentoring Jeanette Wagner.
• Employment of the following as substitute aides for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic pay: Amber Arbogast, Natashia Carr, Dottie Chestnut, Sarah Cover, Cynthia Defibaugh, Thomas Dennison, Salania Evans, Mia Friel, Donna Gragg, Haley Hensler, Diane Hoover, Debora Johnson, Kimberly Jordan, Cynthia Landis, Andrew Myers, Anna Parker, Tonya Warder and Anita Workman.
• Employment of the following as substitute aides for the Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, pending background clearance through the West Virginia State Police, at state basic pay: Kathryn Chandler-Hall, Jamie D. Hill, Katlin R. Sharp and Ashley Wilt.
• Employment of the following as substitute cooks for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic pay: Amber Arbogast, Lois Ann Beverage, Natashia Carr, Dottie Chestnut, Thomas Dennison, Martha Friel, Cynthia Landis, Andrew Myers, Vicki Vrable, Anita Workman and Tammy Wright.
• Employment of the following as substitute custodians for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic pay: Dottie Chestnut, Thomas Dennison, Martha Friel, Vickie Vrable and Tammy Wright.
• Employment of the following as substitute maintenance for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic pay: Thomas Dennison and Richard Dunbrack.
• Employment of the following as substitute secretary/accountant for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic pay: Kimberly Jordan and Lisa Rich.
The next board meeting is Monday, August 22, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com