At Monday night’s Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, the board learned of a new website created by the West Virginia State Auditors office which will make bookkeeping easier. It also reveals where every dollar comes from and goes to when spent by state and local governments.
West Virginia State Auditor John McCuskey gave a presentation on the website and explained that if the board decides to participate, it will streamline all accounting and bookkeeping needs for the BOE.
To demonstrate, McCuskey logged on to the state’s website, wvCheckbook.gov, and showed how it is possible to keep track of all debits and credits, a lot like an online banking system for individuals.
“What you can see on this website is literally every dollar that the state spends in real time and every dollar that comes into the state in real time,” McCuskey said. “You can now see where the state is spending their money.”
The website also creates graphs of spending, comparing year-to-year, as well as keeping track of each individual account.
In exploring the website and discussing an issue with treasurer Sherry Radcliff, McCuskey said he found a check made out for less than what it should be and said because of the website, he was able to begin an investigation into the matter.
As reported in a press release from Senator Joe Manchin in the April 29 edition of The Pocahontas Times, Pocahontas County was to receive $487,426.36 through the Secure Rural Schools [SRS] program. This is the funding that is locally known as the Forestry Money. Instead of the amount reported, a check was made out in the amount of $310,000.
“What’s interesting about it is I was actually able to find the check that went to you guys and it went out just two days ago,” McCuskey said. “That is actually administered by the Department of Agriculture and so what happened was the Department of Agriculture has asked me to write you a $310,000 check. What I’m going to have to do when I get back to the office is find out why the Department of Agriculture took $165,000 of that.
“I don’t know,” he continued. “It’s also possible that the federal government didn’t send the number that was in the article which is equally possible. What I do know is in the course of ten minutes, I was able to find the actual check, all of the accounting information and send it to every single person in the state government that can answer the question.”
Getting back to the website, McCuskey said the only issue that the board currently faces that will hinder their use of the website made specifically for the BOE is that the accounting software in use at the central office is out of date.
He suggested the board upgrade to a newer software which will allow Radcliff to use the website to enter data. With the new software and the website, it will be easier – and cheaper – for the auditor’s office to do the board’s annual audit because the material will be online and visible to McCuskey’s office.
The board thanked McCuskey for his presentation and asked that he keep them informed in regard to the SRS funding.
• Superintendent Terrence Beam reported that he has worked on the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan committee list and has created four sub-committees. He also reported that Suzanne Stewart will serve as the chairperson for the CEFP.
Beam said he will work with Stewart to plan upcoming meetings with the members of the committee.
Beam also reported that he recently received the state fire marshal’s report on the school system and said all issues except one have been fixed or are in the process of being fixed. The sprinkler system at Marlinton Elementary School is the only issue without an answer as to when it will be completed.
• Pocahontas County High School ag education teacher Erwin Berry gave an update on the work his students have done this year. He said the greenhouse is doing well and the students currently have great Mother’s Day gifts available.
Berry added that the students sold a record number of onions this year – 185 bags – with the money going to families in need.
The ag department also received a $16,000 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education which Berry said will go into upgrading the shop which is in bad shape.
• Student representative Jarod Liptrap reported that PCHS students Taylor Tegtmeyer, Colton Massey, Haden Mick and Alan Gibson traveled to Fairmont State University last weekend to participate in the state math field day competition.
He added that the softball team has made it to sectionals and the baseball team and track team are also doing well this season.
• Marlinton Middle School students Andrea Alderman and Jersey Simmons addressed the board about a project they are working on in class. They are preparing for a debate on whether or not naps should be allowed at the middle and high school levels. The young ladies questioned the board to get its opinion to share during their debate.
The board members were in agreement that there should not be a nap time at the middle and high schools.
Miscellaneous and personnel items will be included in next week’s edition of The Pocahontas Times.
The next board meeting will be Monday, May 13, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.