It was business as usual for the Pocahontas County Board of Education Monday evening with just one change – the meeting was held in its new facility in Buckeye. Seated in the new conference room, from left: board treasurer Sherry Radcliff, Superintendent Terrence Beam, board members Steve Tritapoe, Becky Campbell, Emery Grimes, Jessica Hefner and Joe Walker, Allegheny Mountain Radio reporter Tim Walker, Marlinton Middle School teacher Denise Sharp and OWPR Architectural Firm representative Bill Shelton. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Board of Education met at its new board office in Buckeye Monday evening – the last meeting for three of the five board members.

After the board conducts its business, each board member is given an opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions about matters on the board section of the agenda.

This time, the board used the time as an opportunity to say farewell and give well wishes to new board members Justin Dilley, Sue Hollandsworth and John Burns, who were in attendance.

Steve Tritapoe began by expressing his appreciation to superintendent Terrence Beam and the staff for working with him during his time on the board.

“I appreciate everybody’s patience,” he said. “I’ve had fun, and it’s been very educational, especially on the law side of things. Like Mr. Beam said, we may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but I truly believe that everybody has the best interest of the students in their heart.”

Next, he addressed the new members.

“I wish all the new board members the best of luck, and if you have any questions, don’t call me,” he joked. “Mr. Beam is great to work with, the staff and everybody, so good luck to you.”

Jessica Hefner echoed many of the same sentiments as Tritapoe and thanked everyone for their support.

“I wish you the best of luck,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure. It’s been educational for sure. Thanks again for this wonderful experience.”

Next, board member Becky Campbell, thanked the board members who are leaving and welcomed the new members.

“These guys have been great to me the two years I’ve been on here,” she said. “I hope Joe [Walker] and I can help you all as much as they’ve helped us. I was completely clueless two years ago, and I think I’m a little less clueless now. You learn every day and they’ve been a huge help to me. I’m going to miss you guys, but I’m excited to work with the three [new members].”

Joe Walker agreed and joked that Hefner in particular should thank him for “keeping her in order.”

Finally, board president Emery Grimes, who has been on the board for eight years, shared his appreciation for the board and staff, as well as advice for the new members.

“Mr. Beam, it’s been a pleasure,” he said. “I’ve been through three superintendents and you’ve been the easiest one to work with. It’s been a lot of fun. To the new board members, we’ve left you with your head above water; now it’s up to you to keep us above water. That’s a big responsibility.

“Any decision I think we’ve ever made on the board – the five of us – has been putting the kids first, and I think that’s what you have to do,” he continued. The discussions that we had – if we disagreed – nobody else saw it. We didn’t let the public know that there was a divided board. You’ve got to come out united.”

Before banging the gavel one last time, Grimes left saying it was time to move on and allow new members to take their place at the table.

“It’s been a lot of fun the last eight years,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, but you guys, it’s time. It’s time for somebody else to sit in this chair. It’s time for somebody else to make these decisions.”

In updates:

• Bill Shelton of OWPR Architectural Firm, gave an update on the MIP project at Pocahontas County High School to replace the wastewater treatment facility, water tower and miscellaneous items in the vocational building.

Shelton said work has been stalled because the bids which were received came in too high for the project and they were all denied. OWPR approached the West Virginia School Building Authority – the source of the MIP funds – with the issue. The SBA waived several of its stringent guidelines in order to get the project off the ground.

Shelton met with board treasurer Sherry Radcliff and said a purchase order will be put out this week for the wastewater treatment plant. The plant will take six to eight weeks to be fabricated before it can be installed.

The project will get back on track and will be underway this summer. If there are more issues and the project is not finished before the new school year, he said the current wastewater treatment plant will remain in use until the new plant is completed.

Shelton said, with the project back on track, he hopes the plant will be completed before school starts next year.

The board thanked Shelton and asked him to attend the July 16 meeting to give another update.

In delegations:

• Hillsboro resident and parent Josh Hardy voiced his concern that Hillsboro Elementary School will not have music and art taught by music and art teachers next year. He said the parents were informed that each individual teacher will provide the music and art lessons.

In the past, the school had an art teacher one day a week and a music teacher one day a week. While not ideal, Hardy said it was nice to have teachers who were trained in those specific areas.

He said he was disappointed in the lack of communication and asked the board to keep the parents informed from now on if issues arose regarding funding certain areas of study at the school.

Beam responded to Hardy and said that he spoke to HES principal Becky Spencer, who requested a full-time teacher in place of the music and art programs, saying that she worked with the staff to fit the programs into their school day.

Since that discussion, Beam said that changes were made and there will be music at HES two days a week with music and band teacher Rick McLaughlin.

Hardy thanked Beam for the information.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• P. Erwin Berry to transport 10 students by school bus, to Dawson, Virginia, retroactive to June 7-8.

• Ricky and Alanna Sharp, residents of Randolph County, to enroll their child in Greenbrier County Schools, effective for the 2018-2019 school year.

• Elissa Cavender, a resident of Pocahontas County, to enroll her child in Greenbrier County Schools, effective for the 2018-2019 school year.

• Joel and Perlina Ignos, residents of Pocahontas County, to enroll their child in Greenbrier County Schools, effective for the 2018-2018 school year.

• Crystal Kerr and Derek Trull as volunteer cheerleading coaches at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2018-2019 season.

• Devan Simmons as volunteer cheerleading coach at Marlinton Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 season.

• Stephanie Burns and Jenny Friel as volunteer assistant cheerleading coaches at Marlinton Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 season.

• Kevin Stitzinger as volunteer cross country track coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2018-2019 season.

• Norman E. “Joe” Walker as representative on the Extension Service Committee, retroactive to May 29.

• Pocahontas County Board of Education to join the West Virginia School Board Association for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, at a cost of $1,875.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Requested transfer of Marsha Beverage from teacher of multi-subjects at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School to teacher of multi-subjects at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, term of employment is 200 days.

• Requested transfer of Nicole Rose-Taylor from teacher of early education at Marlinton Elementary School to teacher of multi-subjects at Hillsboro Elementary School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, term of employment is 200 days.

• Employment of Christina M. Smith as teacher of Title I at Marlinton Elementary School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, term of employment is 200 days.

• Rescind resignation of Joanne V. Estep as secretary III/accountant III at Marlinton Elementary School.

• Employment of Seth A. Kiriluk as teacher of social studies at Marlinton Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, term of employment is 200 days.

• Employment of Jennifer Chestnut as extended year services/compensatory time speech/language pathologist for Pocahontas County Schools, effective June 25 through July 31, three hours per day, two days per week, at $20 per hour.

• Permission for the superintendent to post and fill vacancies prior to board approval, effective June 11 through August 9.

The next board meeting will be Monday, July 2 at 8 a.m. at the board of education conference room in Buckeye.