Suzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nIt was a night of celebration and planning at the board of education meeting Monday as interim superintendent Terrence Beam announced that the School Building Authority (SBA) approved funding the Pocahontas County Needs Project to renovate Marlinton Middle School and Green Bank Elementary-Middle School.\r\n\r\nBeam traveled to Charleston Monday morning to be in the audience when the announcement was made.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere wasn\u2019t a place to sit down or to stand,\u201d he said. \u201cIt was just everybody everywhere waiting to see who was going to get the money.\u201d\r\n\r\nA member of the SBA, Tom Lange, made a rural proposal to focus on the rural counties who are usually left out in the cold when it comes to funding.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe said, \u2018we\u2019ve got counties out there who have one or two maintenance people, and they\u2019ve got superintendents doing three or four jobs,\u2019 and those kind of things,\u201d Beam said. \u201cHe said, \u2018sometimes, we forget about the little guys.\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nPocahontas County was included in the nine-county rural proposal and received a $100,000 reserve grant.\r\n\r\nThe grant is only a fraction of what the board applied for \u2013 $17,488,097 \u2013 but it is, of sorts, a down payment on the full funding.\r\n\r\nThe Catch-22 of the funding is that the board must pass a levy to raise matching funds and if the levy does not pass, the $100,000 must be returned to the SBA.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re going to have to be very careful on what we do with that and how we proceed,\u201d Beam said. \u201cWe don\u2019t want to get too far in advance here. We need to really think this thing through and present it to our public, and the avenues we\u2019re going to take.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe board attempted to pass a levy in 2014, but it failed. Public opinion was that the levy included funding for too many programs. The board has heard from members of the community that if a new levy was proposed and it focused on funding just the school facilities, they would vote to approve it.\r\n\r\nBoard president Emery Grimes said it is important to show the community exactly what the levy will entail in order to help get it passed.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe need to let the people of Pocahontas County know what they\u2019re getting for their money and get it out there, and really push this thing and try to get it passed because they\u2019re actually getting money for passing the levy,\u201d Grimes said. \u201cIt\u2019s worth this.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeam agreed and said he is worried about what the future holds if the levy does not pass and the board has to return the reserve grant.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhat scares me is if they offer this money to us and we don\u2019t pass our levy \u2013\u00a0then it\u2019s going back down there,\u201d he said. \u201cThen we have to work with what we have and that\u2019s just not enough for our schools. It just isn\u2019t.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0To place Policy IE \u2013\u00a0School Calendar \u2013 on 30-day comment period.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Equine Therapy for Marlinton Middle School students with Shayna Meadows Therapy and Wellness, LLC, at a cost of $1,000 for eight weeks. Service fees will be paid for by a grant from the Snowshoe Foundation.\r\n\r\n\u2022 For Patrick D. Gibson to transport nine students, by rental van, to Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, retroactive to December 14 and 15. All expenses paid by vocational funds.\r\n\r\n\u2022 To relinquish Rita Fortney\u2019s contract as speech\/language pathologist for Pocahontas County Schools, effective at the end of the day on December 23.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Cory McNabb as volunteer assistant boys basketball coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2015-2016 school year.\r\n\r\nIn personnel management, the board approved the following:\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Employment of Richard Hartzell as softball coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2015-2016 season, at a supplement of $650.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0Resignation of Sarah A. Eves as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools, effective at the end of the day on December 23.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Resignation of Mary Sue Burns, due to retirement, as teacher at Pocahontas County High School, effective at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.\r\n\r\nThe next board meeting is Monday, January 11, 2016, at 7 p.m., in the board of education conference room.