Pocahontas County Schools treasurer Sherry Radcliff presented information at the November 5 board of education meeting about the Secure Rural Schools [SRS] funding, local referred to as the Forestry Money.
Radcliff said she was contacted by Senator Joe Manchin’s office and asked to supply financial information pertaining to the school.
“They said there were three things going on,” she said. “They are looking at a two-year extension to get some money; the permanent solution; and then there is a bill out there for counties which have less than five thousand residents which would get more SRS funds.”
There will be a hearing next week concerning the SRS funding and the options for a solution will be discussed at that time. Machin’s office asked Radcliff to invite school officials to attend the hearing to show support for the funding.
“They have asked us to come and testify at that hearing,” she said. “I’ve also asked other counties to do the same.”
Radcliff shared a table that illustrates the amount of money Pocahontas County has received each year since 1996. The funding has fluctuated from as low as zero to as high as $636,427. In 2019, the county received $362,096.
“The percentage of taxes we are not getting is $1.7 million in school revenue funds from this [federal] land,” Radcliff said. “They’re not paying their taxes. We’re trying to politely tell them in the emails that the residents and commercial property owners, and the rest of the U.S. – those people are paying their taxes – and so people in those areas get a good education. We’re not, because we’re not getting tax dollars.”
Of the counties in West Virginia that receive SRS funding, Pocahontas County receives the most due to the number of acres in national forest land.
Several individuals plan to attend the hearing, including Superintendent Terrence Beam.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Support and approval for Denise Ben-Porath of John Carroll University, to conduct research on select seventh through 12th graders at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and Pocahontas County High School to support her hypothesis that students in the National Radio Quiet Zone are more socially and emotionally adjusted than “typical” adolescents who spend considerably more hours a day on screens.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Employment of Anita G. Workman as teacher of social studies at Pocahontas County High School, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, effective November 18, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Term of employment is 129 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
• Employment of Joseph M. Judy, Larry Lucas, Forrest L. Mullenax, Kevin Thompson and James B. Chaney – emergency use only, as substitute school bus operators for Pocahontas County Schools, as needed, effective November 7, or upon proper school bus operator licensure/certification is obtained, for the 2019-2020 school year, at state basic pay.