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BOE considers free meal plan

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Tony Crago, coordinator for the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition gave a presentation on the Community Eligibility Provision school meal program, at the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Currently, the board of education requires an application for a student’s consideration for free or reduced lunch. Crago explained that with the CEP program, the school system may be eligible for a county-wide free meal program.

With the CEP, instead of filling out applications, the program takes the number of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, compares that number to the overall enrollment and determines a percentage. If that percentage exceeds 40 percent, the school qualifies for the program.

“The more meals you can get at the free rate, the higher your federal reimbursement is,” Crago said. “When you sign up for it, you lock in for four years. You lock in your rate for four years. If the rate goes down, you’re locked in at the higher rate for those four years. Being locked in doesn’t mean you can’t opt out.”

Using enrollment numbers, Crago provided the board with a table illustrating that three of the five county schools qualify for the CEP.

“Marlinton Elementary School… you’re at one hundred [percent],” he said. “At that point, you get one hundred percent of the meal service at that school at the free rate. The other schools aren’t too far behind. You have three schools that qualify on their own, meaning they meet the forty percent median.”

Green Bank Elementary-Middle School has a free rate of 76 percent and Hillsboro Elementary School as a rate of 80 percent according to the CEP formula.

“The combined percentage for those [three] schools is 87.03 percent,” Crago said. “Those meals would be reimbursed at the free rate. Then the other thirteen percent would be at the paid rate. So you would be getting eighty-seven percent at $3.15 and thirteen percent at thirty-eight cents. That’s last years rates.”

Marlinton Middle School and Pocahontas County High School do not meet the 40 percent threshold individually, but Crago said, if the five schools were grouped together, the schools as a whole would qualify.

“If you brought in every school, you could feed every kid free,” Crago said.

Crago also provided a mock budget to show the cost and savings of implementing to CEP program. If the program is implemented county-wide, the local collections would be reduced from $51,000 to zero, adding nearly $17,000 to the board’s budget.

If the board enrolled only the eligible school –GBEMS, MES and HES – the board would save almost $21,500.

The board agreed that if it did enter the program, it would have to enroll all the schools to make it fair to the students.
The board thanked Crago for his presentation and said it would take the program into consideration.

In updates:

• Ruth Bland gave updates on the programs under her direction, including technology, special education, preschool services and transportation.

Bland said Pocahontas County Schools recently received a $499,951 grant under the 2016 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program provided by the USDA under the Rural Utilities Service.

The funds will be used to purchase telecommunications stations which will be used for distance learning programs, giving students an opportunity to “attend” classes online. The stations will also be used to provide library services at School Days Preschool.

The grant will be used in partnership with Webster County Schools.

The transportation department received $113,000 toward the purchase of a new bus. Bland said she will soon send bids to bus companies in order to add to the county’s fleet.

Bland also shared tables illustrating student usage of the School Based Health Clinics, a table describing the costs of preschool at Hillsboro and Marlinton elementary schools for the Memorandum of Understanding with HeadStart and the enrollment numbers for the 2015-2016 school year.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• To roll-over the 2015-2016 bid from Flowers Baking Company of West Virginia, Inc., for bakery products, as indicated in bid, effective August 10, 2016 through August 9, 2017.

• To roll-over the 2015-2016 bid from Broughton Foods, LLC, for diary products, as indicated in bid, effective August 10, 2016 through August 9, 2017.

• To create Golf Club at Marlinton Middle School, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, with Jessica Hays as advisor and Jared Bennett as assistant advisor.

• Placement of Policy GCC-C Substitute Service Personnel List on 30-day comment period.

• State and Local Fair Market Value Lease between Pocahontas County Board of Education and Pitney Bowes for use of postage meter and other shipping necessities, per the terms of the lease agreement.

• Daniel Mullens as volunteer assistant seventh and eighth grade football coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2016-2017 season.

• Memorandums of Understanding and Agreement between Community Care of West Virginia, Inc., and Pocahontas County Board of Education, to provide school-based health services, effective for the 2016-2017 school year at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Marlinton Elementary School, Marlinton Middle School and Pocahontas County High School.

• For H.A. and Katrina Taylor, residents of Pocahontas County, to enroll their children in Randolph County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Employment of Crystal Ervine as head girls basketball coach at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, at a supplement of $750.

• Resignation of Samantha J. Feather as teacher of multi-subjects at Marlinton Elementary School, effective August 9.

• Employment Damian Elliott as assistant football coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2016-2017 season, at a supplement of $500.

• Employment of Jeanette D. Wagner as itinerant teacher of special education (multi-categorical)/autism at Pocahontas County High School, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, effective for the 2016-2017 school year. Term of employment is 200 days.

• Employment of the following substitute teachers for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic salary: Michelle L. Arbogast, AnnaLew White-Barb, Mat-thew M. Barkley, Curtis D. Bennett, C. Benjamin Blakemore, Melinda Gayle Boyette, Mary Sue Burns, Michael L. Burns, Susan Chappell, Lori A. Doolittle, Whitney Fedak, Charles “Larry” Garretson, Patricia Heinemann, Diane E. Hoover, Allen R. Johnson, Debora Johnson, Cheryl R. Jonese, Judith A. Kane, Marlyn McClendon, Maria T. McKelvey, David L. Moore, Jr., Rebecca O’Brien, Thomas E. Plumley, Linda S. Raugh, Nathalie K. Richardson, Lucy M. Rittenhouse, Sean C. Rodriguez, Jack M. Sanders, Jr., Virginia Shaw, Robert A. Sheets, Christin D. Shinaberry, Shenda Smith, Jean O. Srodes, Louise Starke, Susan K. Streisel, Kevin Stitzinger, David W. Vanorsdale, Jr., Linda H. VanReenen, Kay E. Wiley and Linda L. Wilfong.

The next board meeting is Monday, August 8 at 7 p.m., at the board of education conference room.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at

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