PRO program at stake for PBHS

The Prevention Resource Officer’s position at Philip Barbour High School could be at risk in the upcoming school year due to a financial shortcoming.

Superintendent of Barbour County Schools Dr. Joseph Super has requested assistance from the Barbour County Commission to help fund the PRO program. The Barbour County Commission and the Board of Education both have shared the costs in the past.

No decisions were made during Monday’s county commission meeting. County Administrator Chuck Foley said that before commissioners review funds to determine if paying the remainder of the project costs is feasible, they will wait for information about how much they can obtain through a Criminal Justice Services grant.

Commissioners said that half of the funding for the position is provided at the state level, and the remainder usually is matched by the commission and the Board of Education.

Commissioner Phil Hart said that the BOE and commission usually split the remaining costs evenly. This year, however, the Board of Education has let the commission know it cannot help fund the position.

Hart said that if the commission is unable to come up with the remaining money for the program, the officer who currently occupies the position, Deputy Chad Kennedy, would return to patrol. No officers would be at risk of losing their job.

“It would put another certified officer on the road,” Hart said.

The County Commission also received a request for assistance on behalf of Animal Friends of Barbour County. Dorothy Hayhurst said that she was hoping for financial assistance from the county to help with the costs of running the shelter.

The shelter is operated entirely by volunteers and often relies on donations and adoption fees to pay for supplies.

Hayhurst said the facility is always in need of volunteer help. Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling said she would talk to Barbour County Community Corrections director Matt Bennett about getting some assistance from those who are part of the Community Corrections program.

Hayhurst said the facility is sheltering more than 200 cats. She said that in the past year, Animal Friends has received 63 dogs from the county animal shelter, has had 68 dogs surrendered to the facility, taken in 49 stray dogs, had six dogs die and had four dogs reclaimed by their owners. Animal Friends has found homes for 68 dogs. She said the shelter has rescued 31 dogs from hoarding situations in Junior and 10 in Audra. One rescued dog had 12 puppies.

Hayhurst also requested commissioners consider an ordinance to control stray dogs. She said she would write one and submit it if the commission would consider adopting it.

Also during the meeting, commissioners mentioned a recently completed two-year audit, which returned findings against the commission. The commissioners briefly discussed the audit report, but did not detail any specific information about the findings.

Foley said that he received the findings and will send them to Charleston for a response. He said the audit report will become a public record after it is received by officials in Charleston. Copies of the report may then be obtained through the Chief Inspector’s division.

“We would rather let them (Chief Inspector’s office) look at it and review it, then respond to it,” Foley said when asked about the audit.