At the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday evening, Superintendent Terrence Beam led a discussion about the future plans for Marlinton Elementary School.
Beam explained that he has been thinking about ways to keep the school in the town of Marlinton, although he has not fully flushed out the ideas to thoroughly discuss them.
“As you all know, I’m from Nicholas County – that’s where my home is – and I went to Richwood High School and I have seen first-hand what has happened to that community, to that county, where they have been trying to close Richwood High School,” Beam said. “They may close it, they may not.”
“I don’t want that to happen in Pocahontas County,” he continued. “I know how important it is for the town of Marlinton to have a school here, but also and more important, I think for the identity of this town – I think it’s important they have a school here. If there’s any way possible to do it.”
Beam mentioned the failed school levy which called for moving MES to the Marlinton Middle School site and said that the community spoke loud and clear about keeping the school in town.
In looking at possible ways to do that, Beam said he plans to meet with Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton to discuss ideas the town may have. Beam will keep the board informed on ideas and share them at a later meeting.
“The people want a school here, and we need to try to do that if we can,” Beam said. “I don’t know how you do it. It’s going to cost money somehow – nothing’s free – but I think that there are some ways that we can do this, and we let the public decide how bad they want to keep the school without putting all of the burden on them, but also give them some options.”
Once he shares his ideas with the board, Beam said he plans to have public meetings to give members of the community a chance to voice their opinions, and to see which option is the most viable for the school.
“I want us to try to find a way to do this,” he said. “I know what our limitations are with the SBA [School Building Authority]. I know what they are very well, but if there’s a will, there’s a way, and we’re going to see if there’s a way we can do this.”
The board agreed with Beam that they must look at all the options for the sake of the school and the community. The issue will be discussed again at a later date.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Contract between Pocahontas County Board of Education and Taylor Construction and Trucking, LLC.
• Contract between Pocahontas County Board of Education and Kristen R. LeCroy to provide art instruction at Hillsboro Elementary School, one day per week for 16 weeks at the rate of $100 per one-half day. Paid for by federal funding.
• Hillsboro Elementary School fifth grade to travel by chartered bus to Washington, D.C., departing May 23 and returning to school on May 24.
• Memorandum of Understanding between Eastern WV Community and Technical College and Pocahontas County Schools.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Employment of Jerry L. Dale as graduation coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective January 24, for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, three hours per day, four days per week, at $20 per hour.
• Unpaid medical leave of Leah Shinaberry as teacher of mathematics at Pocahontas County High School, effective March 29, or upon exhaustion of personal leave, through the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
• Resignation of Kristen LeCroy as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Board of Education, retroactive to January 9.
The next board meeting is Monday, February 5, at 6 p.m., at the board of education conference room.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com