Suzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nAlthough it was denied funding for a Needs Project grant from the West Virginia School Building Authority, the Pocahontas County Board of Education is dusting itself off and looking for alternate ways to make upgrades to county schools.\r\n\r\nAt its June 1 meeting, the board discussed its options with Wendel Energy Services representative Andy Cocina.\r\n\r\nCocina has worked with the board to create an energy saving plan for the school system. The plan sees the board borrowing money to replace the current lights with LED lights. The borrowed funds will be repaid with the savings made from the new lighting system.\r\n\r\nWith the lighting part of the project underway, Cocina said there are several parts of the proposed Needs Project application that can move forward using the ESSER [Elementary and Second School Emergency Relief Fund] grants.\r\n\r\nCocina\u2019s colleague Sam Marotta explained how the ESSER funds can be used on two school projects.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe intent is to use that to provide new HVAC systems with air conditioning at Green Bank Elementary-Middle and Marlinton Middle,\u201d he said. \u201cOne of the reasons that these two were selected is during the process of the SBA interviews, these two schools were brought up as having issues with indoor air quality and that AC was brought up to be brought into these schools.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe ESSER funding was set aside by Congress and allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security [CARES] Act.\r\n\r\nAnother project \u2013\u00a0Marlinton Elementary School\u2019s sprinkler system \u2013 will also receive funding from elsewhere. Once the loan from the energy savings project is paid off, the savings will be used on the sprinkler system.\r\n\r\nWith those three major projects getting funding, Cocina said the rest of the Needs Project will be presented to the SBA in hopes that it will be approved for funding.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe original ask was for six point two million and we\u2019re saying to the School Building Authority, \u2018we\u2019ve used our energy project and we\u2019ve used our ESSER grant money [at GBEMS, MMS and MES],\u2019\u201d he said. \u201cSo we spread that money out \u2013\u00a0we balanced it. Now we\u2019ve gone from six point two million down to five point four million. I think we\u2019ve got a fairly compelling argument to say that we\u2019ve been very good stewards of the money.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe board thanked Cocina and Marotta for their report and efforts in helping the board with projects. The Needs Project proposal will be presented to the SBA in September.\r\n\r\nIn updates:\r\n\r\n\u2022 Superintendent Terrence Beam shared a couple new laws that were put into effect through the West Virginia Department of Education and explained that there will be more taking effect July 1. Students who are homeschooled and at the high school level are now eligible to take part in Career and Technical Education [CTE] courses at Pocahontas County High School.\r\n\r\nBeam added that another law has passed giving parents the right to choose if their child is or is not ready to attend kindergarten. Prior to this law, the school system would evaluate kindergarten aged students and determine if the were intellectually prepared to enter school. It is now left to the discretion of the parent.\r\n\r\nBeam reported that due to the latest mask mandate and social distancing guidelines, he feels there is no longer a need to use Zoom for board meetings. He said that the public is welcome to return to attending meetings in person.\r\n\r\nDuring his special recognitions, Beam shared that school nurse Jenny Friel received the Highmark Foundation Seventh Annual Advancing Excellence in School Nursing Award. Along with accolades for her work, Friel also received a $1,500 grant, which she plans to use for clinical supplies.\r\n\r\nBeam also congratulated the Class of 2021 and said graduation went really well.\r\n\r\nLastly, Beam shared his appreciation for the school staff for their tireless efforts in navigating one of the most difficult school years in history.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur kids have done a really good job. I\u2019m really proud of them,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Director of curriculum, instruction and federal programs Lynn Bostic gave a report on the upcoming summer school program, Summer Sole. She explained that due to staffing issues, there will not be a middle school summer school this year.\r\n\r\nBostic said there are 19 students signed up for kindergarten through second grade, which will be taught by Darla Huddle and 12 students in third through fifth grade, taught by Rachel McComb. Shonda Carr and Jeanette Wagner will be helping with credit recovery, as well.\r\n\r\nThe summer school staff also includes: coordinator Cammy Kesterson, special education interventionist Darlene Arbogast, aide Carolyn Pennington, nurse Jenny Friel, custodian Sarah Hedrick and cook Janessa Bell.\r\n\r\nThe summer school program will be June 8 through July 1 at PCHS.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Alan Gibson gave his last report as student representative, thanking them for allowing him the opportunity to serve.\r\n\r\n\u201cI really appreciate the opportunity you all give to be involved and represent the student body,\u201d he said. \u201cMy final report is a great one. Seniors have graduated. We\u2019re absolutely ecstatic about that.\u201d\r\n\r\nGibson added that the underclassmen were finishing up classes and ready for the summer.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s been a great year,\u201d he concluded.\r\n\r\nIn miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0To enter into an independent contract with Jeff Wayne as water operator at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School at $50 per hour, one hour per week, or as needed, effective June 2, 2021 to June 30, 2022.\r\n\r\n\u2022 To incorporate Adventure Pocahontas, Nature\u2019s Mountain Classroom into the country curriculum for the 2021-2022 school year. See separate story on page 1.\r\n\r\n\u2022 To put the Green Bank (Slaven) property up for public bid.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0To deed 2.2 acre tract, more or less, from the Green Bank (Slaven) property to Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority for a of the green box site, at no cost. All fees pertaining to land transfer will be the responsibility of Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority.\r\n\r\nIn personnel management, the board approved the following:\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Requested transfer of Vickie L. Vrable as custodian III at Pocahontas County High School to custodian III at Marlinton Elementary School, at state minimum, effective for the 2021-2022 school year. Term of employment is 220 days.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Resignation of Peggy M. Owens as itinerant teacher of art\/gifted at Marlinton Middle School, effective June 30.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Employment of Julia A. Shiflet as assistant principal\/assistant career and technical education director at Pocahontas County High School, at state minimum salary plus degree and experience, in accordance with Pocahontas County Administrative Salary Schedule, plus $6,000 supplement, effective for the 2021-2022 school year. Term of employment is 220 days.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Employment of Kathy L. Mason as athletic director at Pocahontas County High School, extra-curricular position, at a supplement of $5,000, effective for the 2021-2022 school year.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Resignation of Robert J. Mann as teacher of music and band director, extra-curricular, at Pocahontas Coun-ty High School, effective July 1.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Resignation of Samara A. Mann as teacher of English\/language arts at Pocahontas County High School, effective August 1.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Employment of Joseph J. Judy as general maintenance\/truck driver\/groundsman\/sanitation plant oper- ator\/heating and air conditioning\/mechanic II for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay per licensure requirements, effective July 1 for the 2021-2022 school year. Term of employment is 261 days.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Employment of Sherri L. Howe as cafeteria manager for the Energy Express program at Marlinton Elementary School, at state minimum salary, effective June 22 through August 2. Wages are contingent upon actually working the Energy Express program. Paid holidays are not part of this contract.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Employment of Lora Sue Miller \u2013\u00a0Marlinton Middle School and Janessa K. Bell \u2013 Green Bank Elementary-Middle School as cafeteria managers for the summer feeding program, at state minimum salary, two days a week, as needed, per county food director, effective June 15 through August 5. Wages are contingent upon actually working the summer feeding program. Paid holidays are not part of this contract.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Employment of Goldie Greene as cook III for the summer feeding program at Marlinton Middle School, at state minimum salary, two days a week, as needed, per county food director, effective June 15 through August 5. Wages are contingent upon actually working the summer feeding program. Paid holidays are not part of this contract.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Employment of Lora Sue Miller as cafeteria manager for ordering food and products for summer food service programs, extra-curricular position, at state minimum salary, up to three-and-a-half hours per week, for eight weeks, effective June 7 to July 30. Wages are contingent upon actually working the position for the summer food service program. Paid holidays are not part of this contract.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Resignation of Kaylea N. Kelley as academic interventionist at Marlinton Elementary School, for the 2021-2022 school year, retroactive to May 12.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Resignation of Earnest Ray Hendrick as seventh and eighth grade assistant football coach, retroactive to May 8.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Resignation of Donna F. Gragg as substitute aide for Pocahontas County Schools, effective June 3.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Permission for the superintendent to post and fill positions prior to board approval, effective June 2 through October 1.\r\n\r\nThe next board meeting will be Tuesday, July 6, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.